What is it they say about carpenters who live in houses falling down around their ears? As a writer who rarely works on her novel I can relate. Why am I so close to the finish line, and unable to get to the end? I seem to have fallen into the abyss of freelance writing. Depending on the day in question I may have six bosses, or I may be creatively independent. When I have six bosses I’m insanely busy chasing or running away from deadlines. I feel confident in my abilities and my contribution to my bank account. Yet, I’m stifled by copy editors, hounded to stick to an editorial schedule, weighted down by a creative process that has become something less than creative and more like a chore.
When I’m creatively independent with no pending jobs, I find my writing mojo depleted. I wonder why the phone isn’t ringing, why my editors aren’t emailing for stories and articles – my confidence fades. It’s then, when I have no paid work lined up, chapters and story lines start to flow like coffee. But I don’t choose to write them down. Instead, I avoid the file holding my novel and I channel my creativity into cobbling together pitches for magazines; racked with guilt I’m not invoicing anyone that day. I need to find a balance between writing to live, and living to write. Balance, my friends is the key to keeping the house from falling down around your ears.
I am a solution focused person. I do attempt to reach a point of balance with each writing experience. I’ve written blog and Facebook posts, website content, tweets, magazine and newspaper articles, stories, columns, advertorials, press releases, even emails for money. My passion for writing dictates I feel the responsibility of each word. No matter what the vehicle; magazine, newspaper, or email I am responsible for telling another person’s story. These writing experiences have taught me I cannot in good conscience write even the modest 140 characters of a tweet without infusing a modicum of creativity into that small piece of real estate. Experience has also taught me a lot of billable time can be wasted manipulating 140 characters into a piece of creative genius. Ahhhh. Writing to live, and living to write collide again.
So I continue to search for balance the way my kids search for each other in a good game of hide-and-seek. Elusive and temporary, it evades me and I can’t seem to manage more than a day of relative calm, before I plunge into the abyss of writing for the sake of a paycheck, or dreaming of the day when I can write for the sake of my creative passion without feeling guilty. Writing to live, and living to write – my passion is my bread and butter. Some would call that fortunate. Some would say, more’s the pity.