I started thinking about what I sacrifice to be a writer. I’ve sacrificed family vacations in order to go to National. I’ve sacrificed my reading time, and when I do read, I no longer read like a reader. I still buy books, but never have time to read them. (I would say I sacrifice TV time, but y’all know that’s not true! Although while I’m watching TV and video games, I feel guilty about not writing.) I sacrifice family time, time with non-writing friends. I don’t entertain anywhere near as often as I did. I spend money on writing contests and conferences that I would spend on other things (I certainly wouldn’t save it!) I don’t devote as much time to preparing for my day job as I probably should. I’ve given up sewing and other crafts that I used to do all the time (that were probably as expensive as writing, if not more!)

I spend a lot of time with my butt in the chair, to the disgust of my son (I have the good computer, see, but mainly because it has the good chair.) I have notebooks of each manuscript around the house, returned contest entries. My middle room is stacked with writing paraphernalia, paper, binder clips, stuff from my chapter’s library. I have an Alpha Smart, a laser printer, a nice comfy computer chair, all the writerly things. I could probably have a pretty house like my mom’s if not for the computer in the living room and the guest room I can’t use.

But then I think – what would I rather be doing? I mean, what do people who DON’T write do with their time? I mean, look at my husband. Love him, really. But when he’s home, he’s on the laptop on the couch, certainly not doing anything productive. My mom cleans house. My son plays video games. My best non-writing friend, well, she has two little ones, so she probably is busy. But before they came along, she watched a lot of TV.

So maybe I’ll never get published, but at least I’m doing SOMETHING that most people will never do, and that is worth the sacrifice.

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Anonymous said...

I say the same things, Mar. No matter what happens, ever published or not, I have spent a good chunk of my time creating something. Taking an idea, a concept, and turning it into reality, into pages that I will leave behind me when I pass from this life. A part of me will always be here, even if only in the hands of my friends and family, because I created. My great-grandmother, whom I loved dearly, was a poet and writer who never got very far in her career. But after her death, her granddaughters got together and had all her work published into a single volume. I own a copy of this book. I look at that, and I know I am carrying on the ways of my family, and of this great woman who came before me. My grown and mostly-grown children write today because they saw Mama writing. Who knows what will come from their endeavors? But I will have the peace of knowing that my example made them believe they could do it, too.

I'd rather leave all this behind as my legacy than a spotless, clean house, Mar. You have it all very much correct.


Anonymous said...

When you love what you're doing, it's worth it.

Amie Stuart said...

LOL mary when I think about quitting that's one thing that stops me. what will I do with all that free time?

MJFredrick said...

Good point, JoAnn, about the legacy....
And I didn't know that about your grandmother.

Olga, you're right. It's just hard to remember on days when you don't love it so much ;)

Cece, right - though surely people fill their hours SOMEHOW. I can't imagine it.

Tenna said...

All too true. I hate getting irritated while reading my favorite author's new books and finding what to me seems like glaring editing mistakes. I can't just sit and read in a peaceful, happy daze.

There is also the sacrifice of sleep. I use my days for my kids but write at nite when they are all asleep. I start about 10 pm and end at 5AM. Get back up at 8 to take them to school.

MJFredrick said...

I bow to you, Tenna! I can stay up MAYBE till one during the summer, but not all night - argh!

And there are very few books that can make me forget I'm a writer. Black Rose did it, but Angel in the Stone, which was excellent, did have some editing mistakes. And there was another book, I can't remember what it was now, where I was wondering, "How did the editor let them get away with THAT?"

Anonymous said...

And when all's said and done, we have something to show for it. :)

Trish Milburn said...

I've had many of the same thoughts and feelings, Mary. But if nothing else, I've made the best friends a gal could have through my writing.

MJFredrick said...

Amen, Michelle. We can say, "I DID THIS." Even if we're never published, we can still hold it in our hands.

Trish, the friendships is one of the reasons I can't walk away. I'd feel a hypocrite to stay on the loops, stay a member of the chapters and not be writing.

Jill Monroe said...

My family would adore as spotless clean house and the opportunity to play more on my computer for sure : )

I couldn't imagine what I'd do without that mini-vacation I take every year to National. Meeting up with all my old friends is amazing.

And Mary, I totally understand *NOT* being able to read a book anymore without looking at the structure and the author's technique. That does make me sad.

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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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