The first time I tried to treat my writing like a day job, I failed. I did everything but write. It was hard for me to justify sitting at home doing exactly what I love. I filled my days with worthy projects so that I could earn writing time. I never did.
Today I spent a lot of the day organizing my projects, catching up mentally and preparing myself. I settled into the mindset that I am not earning my writing time but rather fulfilling my purpose. This is no longer something I stay up late to do. This is what I do.
Last night I gave a family a ride to help them get their car fixed. During the small talk, the mom asked what I did for a living.
“As of tomorrow, I write,” I said. My mind wasn’t on the conversation at all. I was thinking of dinner, what I had to do before bed and getting these strangers to their destination.
“Oh, does that make a good living?”
“It’s not about making a living,” I said. “It’s about living.”
My words, spoken without thought, kept rattling around in my brain long after. The truth of them settled through me. This is no game—no distraction to keep me busy. Writing is the only thing I do that feels like it matters.
Up until now, everything I’ve written has been squeezed in between chaotic minutes. In the early days of reporting for a weekly paper in New Jersey I would drag my three babies to the interviews and write the articles on my knees, nursing one boy while the other clung to my back.
When the muse struck hot, I’d stay up until almost dawn to catch her and then go into the day on two or three hours of sleep. It wasn’t about fame or piles of royalties—it was about the words that pile up in my head until they leave room for nothing else. I had to get them out before they suffocated me.
Today, I’ve been granted the precious gift of time to let the words flow as they will. Because of the support of my amazing husband and family, I can allow myself to be on fire and burn with my muses. They can run rampant through my mind, leaving fragile lines of ink the only evidence of their passing.
Day One as a full time writer and I am filled with the heat of daydreams given permission to live. The possibilities drench me, washing the world off of my skin so I can enter a new one unencumbered. The pages stretch out like an eternal sand for my feet to mark new maps. I wander under the night sky of my mind, letting the internal starshine guide my path.
Today, I don’t write to make a living. I write to live.