Friday, September 28, 2001

These are certainly days for confusion and mixed feelings, both about the world at large and my life in particular. I've written here about my unsure feelings about supporting a foreign war, no need to rehash that today.

No, now I'm concerned about starting a new job. I've been under- and/or unemployed for seven months now, and I'm nervous about going back to work. The usual concerns of whether or not it's the right job (it probably is, if I must work), concerns about whether or not I can cut do the job, and whether or not I'll remember how to get up and go to work for eight hours a day at something other than writing.

This has been a great period for me, having plenty of time to do whatever I choose, and to write quite a bit. In just the last month or so I've completed three of the best short stories I've ever written. Work that I truly feel is a breakthrough of sorts. And at the same time I know that I cannot afford to continue to be a full-time writer. The reality is that my savings, such as they are, could only support this for another couple of months before dire emergency would set in. It's best to accept a good job when it's offered, rather than wait till the last minute and not have any income.

So, what have I learned here? Writing full time is quite different than writing strictly "for fun." As a hobby, I only ever wrote when I wanted to - when I was "inspired." These last weeks and months I've had certain set-aside times to sit down and write, inspired or not. I set certain rules about not getting up until I'd done 1,000 words, inspired or not. It was great to build that discipline, to set those challenges, and to meet them. Even better was the pay-off; as I said above, I really think I've grown as a writer for having done this.

So, again, the worry over going back to work full-time... Will I lose what I have learned? I hope not, and think not. I won't have as much time to devote to developing my writing, but I know now, more than ever, that it is not simply a dream, but something I can and will do professionally. It's just going to take some time.

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