Friday, March 4, 2011

What if I Just...Write?

In all of the obsessiveness over editing and agents and queries and synopses and networking and beta readers and, you know, all of that other writing stuff, I'm starting to wonder: what would happen if I just decided to write. Just write. Nothing else. Just turn the writing into my career and stick with it.

I've read a couple of blogs lately that have talked about "coming out of the writer closet" and admitting to yourself that you're a writing addict and that's all you want to be. My problem is that I don't know if that's all that I want to be.

Being a writer is something I've always wanted. It's something I've always loved. However, I should also note that I'm a freshman psychology major on an excellerated 3-yr path. I've wanted to be a clinical psychologist for at least 7 years. ...But then, I start to wonder...

Remember The Crying Problem? When I talked about how I was looking up agents and I got so excited by the process and by them and their love of literature that I started to cry? Yeah, that happened again today. I was looking at the PUSH website. (PUSH as in the segment of scholastic that publishes gritty YA.) I was scanning the titles and looking at the authors that had changed my life as a reader and ones that I knew could effect me in the future. I had been directed to the site to use as research and so that I could then look up more authors who write gritty YA and who their agents are.

But then I started reading the story previews and the memories started flooding back. I was 11, 13, 15, 16. I was abused, depressed, coming out, frustrated, and these books were my therapy. They were literary Lexapro. They taught me it was okay to be frustrated, that other people have been abused, that I'm not the only one that thinks about sex (shocked?), and that hey, at least I was only eating my feelings and not smoking them through a crack pipe. And it just hit me that that's what I want to write. This is what I want to do. I want to be a writer. And I could be a writer forever.

And yet, I'm a writer now. (Just not a published one.) And I can be a writer and a therapist...sort (I'm one of those people who, in my mind, can juggle the world if I want.) But then I think, "What do I want to be my main thing, and would I still want to get a doctorate in something that isn't my main thing if I decide that psychology is just the occassional affair I have on my mostly monogomous relationship with writing." (And then I think, I'm too young to be stressing out about this. Lol.)

Oh my. Well, I suppose only the future will tell.


  1. Great post. For a lot of us, writing is therapy . . . a way to take of all the emotion churning inside us and force it into our characters.

  2. Shoot, I had a decent comment and blogger lost it. It was perhaps too long anyway.

    Short version: Maybe you don't have to choose just yet. Sometimes it may be difficult/frustrating to juggle both careers, and there may be times you have to decide whether meeting a personal/blogger community writing deadline is important enough to take sick or vacation days to accomplish.

    I struggle with this choice myself. My conclusion has been that my writing career hasn't paid off enough for me to completely dedicate myself to being an author. And, my social services work in truly satisfying. I'm not sure I'd give up the day job before my third or fourth novel has sold. I'm not there. Yet . .

    You have some tough decisions to make. I'm sure whatever you decide will be what is best for you.


  3. Writing. For a career it requires discipline. You must be able to place writing very high on your priority list.

    Except for family/medical emergencies, writing occupies the top rung for me. I'm retired. I write EVERY day that I'm not sitting in a doctor's office. That means writing from 9 AM to 5 PM (or more) EVERY day.

    If you have a full-time job outside your home, then you'll have to carve out the time to write. Usually, that means giving up other things like TV.

    I know many writers who managed to get one book published, discovered writing was the very least of all the things they were expected to do (blogs, webpage, promo, facebook, twitter--yes, your publisher WILL expect you to do all of those on a regular daily basis!)

    Whatever genre you write, you will be responsible for selling your book. No one will be promo-ing it except you. There will be many, many more things for you to do besides writing. You'll have to fight for writing time.

    That's the reality.If you have children/husband, you will have to find time for them too. It's a tough life.