Sunday, November 16, 2008

Don't Quit Your Day Job

Creating and the Economy

Even though there are many levels, I think everyone can say that they have been in some way affected by our recent tough economy. My situation is not as bad as others. I do have a job, but it has been more of a challenge to make ends meet. I remember hearing my mother use that term back in the 1970’s when I was very young. That was another tumultuous economic time. The funny thing though was I heard the phrase as make ends meat. It still made sense. I figured these were the least desirable parts of meat, which would therefore make them the cheapest. If you couldn’t earn enough money to buy ends meat, times must truly be bad! In the past few months, I’ve tried applying for seasonal retail work. I’ve also looked into work I could do on the side at home. Soon, the title of my blog may be, “Don’t Quit Your Day Job Or Your Night Job”! When I’m already finding it a challenge to create after putting in a forty-hour week, how will I ever fit in my writing if I’m working sixty hours a week?

Hours aside, there’s also the question of how economic stress can stifle the creative process. I’ve worked hard over the past year to bring my writing to the forefront of my life. Although I’m far from my personal goals, writing is more prevalent in my life than ever. Yet I can’t help feeling frivolous, banging away on my keyboard when I should be scouring Craigslist.

Maybe I’ll be one of those stories, “the chips were down, she persevered and now you’re reading her profile in Writer’s Digest.” Hey, if fantasy keeps me going then I say do what works.

The reality is, I yet again have to re-prioritize and find a way to work more and pair down my writing. Emotionally, it’s difficult to accept because I already don’t have as much time to write as I would like. The best case scenario is that sometimes when you have so many responsibilities to juggle, you can end up being more productive than ever. I certainly hope this is one of those times.

As to the constant guilt and frivolity I feel in indulging my writing endeavors…that’s probably going to be a tougher task. Not only is there so much stress involved in trying to keep your family life and finances all together, how can you block all that out when you come to writing? I can write about my feelings or use my writing to problem solve. The challenge comes in the works I have in progress. I like to think I can use my writing to whisk me away from my daily problems. The unfortunate reality is that I’m not quite there yet. I use to think my only obstacle was time. As I peel away the layers of living a creative life, I see that there are as many unique combinations of making ends meet as their creative thoughts. If I keep trying, I find what works for me. There will be successes and failures, but hopefully along the way I will find that balance and maybe pick up a few recipes for ends meat!

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