In the future, many asteroids will smash into the earth. Several of them will be extinction level impacts. This is not a predication. Scientists consider it a cold hard fact based on patterns in geologic data. Believe it or not, we are actually overdue for one. Whether humans will still be around is another question entirely, but if we are, the incoming piece of rock provides quite a challenge in deflecting it. Hollywood says we should nuke the bugger, but Hollywood also thinks there is sound in space.
If detected early enough, the actual solution is a rather boring one. A small probe could be launched, and it would fix itself to the rock after which, it would ignite a small engine. It wouldn't be enough to move the rock but overtime, the continual release will shift the rock by a few inches - inches which multiplied by millions of miles becomes an entirely different trajectory. Thus, the impact is averted. Nuclear bombs need not apply.
So what does this have to do with writing?
Well not much, and a whole lot. As a writer, my goal is to hit a target instead of miss one. I want to be a working writer. The salary amount doesn't so much matter. I just need to be able to live off it. My plan isn't a one year plan ... it's a twenty year plan and to achieve it, I'm making small little adjustments my daily life that over time, will help me be the person I want to be. The idea is slow constant repetition over a long stretch of time. In the past, I'd make quick changes to my life which didn't hold after a few months. These days, I'm arranging everything for the long term. Thus, I'm trying to deflect the asteroid towards me. I'm just hoping it won't be an extinction level impact
It was a week ago I started to visualize how I would feel to be a working writer - writing new work in the morning. Rereading older work later in the day. Researching new markets and making phone calls to industry folks to check on the status of manuscript x. The idea wasn't meant to be daydreaming by a pond, wishing on for the whims of fairies, but rather active visualization in the way a runner would visualize the course in front of him or her. The goal was to perceive the distance needed to cross the gap in front of me.
Of course, the universe responded in brute force. My work schedule exploded. I started receiving regular support calls at 2 in the morning. My daughter got a nasty cold and my wife has been scrambling to finish a hearth before the new woodburning stove is installed. While she has been building the structure, I've been taking care of our daughter almost fulltime since I'm really more of a liability when it comes to home projects.
It seems like every time I try to commit, a hurricane gale blows my resolve to tatters and by the time the storm has calmed, the idea of living as a working writer feels like a dream reminisced at lunch time.
So I'm doing the only thing I can do right now is write in the open spaces that I find and yes, I am writing. But the writing is hard. I'm lucky if I get one page done. Yet there is joy in this storm. I crossed the fifty page mark of my current revision last night. My book is twenty five percent done and while I realize another rewrite will probably follow this one at least the hard work is getting done. So there is a light in the darkness to keep me moving one step in front of the other. No one told me it was going to be easy, but then again, no one told me it would be like this. Oh well, back to the draft.
This morning my wife and I sat down and had the talk. It wasn't just any talk. It was a writing talk. In short, we both agree that the first thing I NEED to do every morning is to write. I learned this from Ariel Gore's excellent book, "How to Become a Famous Writer Before You're Dead". In it, Gore argues that writing needs to be at the top of the todo list or else it will never get done.
For awhile, I was able to pull this off. I woke every morning a six and wrote for two hours a day. It worked well until some unexpected work events knocked me off my writing feet and I never went back to it.
So here I am now ... trying to rewrite my book between daycare trips, crazy work schedules, house renovations, and life itself and it just isn't working. So we had the talk.
My wife offered to drive my daughter to daycare three times a week, adding an hour's worth of driving to her day so I can have space to write in the morning. I am both floored by her generosity while also feeling incredibly selfish. Much better writers than myself have managed to find the time. She says I'm happier when I write every day which makes her happy to sacrifice. Still, my goal is to avoid such a sacrifice by writing earlier and appreciating her kindness each time she does the make the trip. The challenge is that I'm not a morning person. Not in the least. So now it's my turn to sacrifice. No more late nights for me. Not when she's putting herself out there.
She wants to start the new schedule tomorrow, but I asked to her wait so that I may analyze my time and make the best of it so that such driving isn't necessary. Fingers crossed.
In any case, it feels good to be shifting away from my web development path towards the true goal that keeps the fire burning bright in my eyes.
A long time ago, I was reading a "get out of debt" book by Dave Ramsey and he said that the moment you declare to the world that you wish to live debt free is the day when the world will challenge you on it. I.E. - the car breaks down, an unexpected bill arrives, the house explodes.
I came to learn this as a cold hard truth but my wife and I overcame it and now live an almost debt free lifestyle (only paying the mortgage)
So Sunday I declared I wanted to live a writing lifestyle and the world was at it again, telling me no. My workload filled up, my blackberry fired up at 3am, and my schedule was too full. So this is the hard part, trying find a space to write when the world says no.
Unfortunately for the world, I'm saying yes and making plans to do it. blackberry be damned.
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