No Glamour In The Writer Life
I know people think it’s cool to be a writer; the fact that we don’t need to be in an office and we can work from home and wake up when we want to seems like we’re living the dream. However, let me tell you a little secret; it is not glamorous at all.
When you get off from work at the end of the day, we could be out chasing a story somewhere in the case of journalists. We don’t have the luxury of relaxing because we have no such thing as working hours; it’s a 24 hour job. Our minds are always working and it’s something we can’t switch off. For me especially, it’s come to a point where I’m listening in on everything because it might lead me to a twist in the plot of the novel I’m writing or the way someone around me behaves could be added to the traits of a characters. It’s easy to think you lay in bed all day and the words come to you then you type them down and that’s it. I find that more than ever my mind is challenged everyday to;
1. Retain information when a pen and pad are too far off to scribble something.
2. Connect two or three seemingly unrelated things to come up with a piece
3. Look at current issues beyond face-value to create a write up that is nothing like the next writer’s.
Beyond just the creative aspect, you find that because you don’t have a regular job you have to take crummy freelance jobs that make your daily schedule incredibly packed. On top of the freelance jobs, I have features on some websites and regular contributions to churn out. Sometimes sleep is a luxury and I don’t even consider it because there are so many deadlines I have to meet.
Every day I have to increase what a friend called online currency. I have a blog to maintain daily and that means creating original content that’ll keep people engaged, value my opinion and also create a meaningful connection between me and them. I have to be on social media every day even when I don’t want to, read on social media trends to get an edge up and study newspapers & online articles to keep up with current affairs. In addition, I have to read up on writing as a career to get tips and advice from my peers as well as study my field in terms of what are considered classics, the innovators and the overall technical aspect of writing. I have to fit all that into my daily schedule because I can’t fall behind.
This year I distanced myself from some people, put my businesses in other people’s hands and dedicated myself fully to writing and only doing just that. Sometimes you have to convert a storage room in your house to a makeshift office where you can write articles and books without any disturbance.
Sometimes you have to give up all your vices, sacrifice a good time [read #TurnUp time] and sideline romantic interests just to work on what you have envisioned for the future. If my shitty office isn’t proof that the writer life isn’t glamorous then I don’t know.
This originally appeared on my Facebook page.