School started up again last week. Hooray. Can you feel my enthusiasm? Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying it in a broad sense and it’s definitely helping with my composition, thesis, outline, reading, etc. What’s killing me about doing it is two fold – 1) that’s a pretty significant amount of extra debt I’m taking on there and 2) I don’t have time to work.
The thing is, every single novel I read has a little blurb in the back about the Author and all of them (yes, seriously all of them) say ‘so-and-so big semi-famous author person got their degree at this college you’ve never heard of before’. I want a degree from a college no one has ever heard of so a whole bunch of people can read my book and skip right over the author blurb and never see it!
I have wanted, for a long time, to join the ranks of the college ed-u-ma-cated. Don’t ask me why because I’m not really sure how to answer that. All I know is that I want to be wicked smaht. Because it isn’t like people ask an almost 40 year old where they went to school. That kind of stuff just doesn’t come up in casual conversation anymore like it did when I was 26.
Because what people ask an almost 40 year old is ‘what do you do’. And maybe the problem is I can’t seem to wrap my head around saying I’m a writer without something to back it up. I haven’t accepted it yet. I don’t have enough experience, or haven’t really gotten paid to do it so it just doesn’t count. In my head I mean, you don’t have to tell me how it does count because the other side of me knows you’re completely right.
I practiced this past weekend in fact. We went to see my sister and ended up at the local dive bar where she and her friends hang out sometimes. A lovely gentleman from
, with a thick accent and the most fantastic brown leather shoes I’ve ever seen in my life simply posed the question ‘so what do you do?’ Italy
It surprised me actually that we’d met all these people all night and that was the first time someone even asked that question. I said I was a writer. Of novels. But that I also wrote a blog. Oh and I’m a painter too.
Like I had to throw in that last bit so it would sound like I make money and pay my bills or something. As if being a writer isn’t a legitimate enough profession that I can just own it?
Apparently I couldn’t.
So I thought a lot about that incident. I know that he probably doesn’t remember it happening, and no one else who was there has any recollection of my bumbling, stammering, attempt at trying to decide what it is I do for a living. The conclusion I came to is that, in order to feel more like a writer, I have got to stop doing things that don’t at all relate to being a writer.
Which really won’t be easy to do considering I have a company, people who want to hire me to do faux and a whole bunch of teammates that rely on my other endeavors as my day job (if you will).
So then I thought about it some more. If I’m going to stay in school, which I intend to do because that shiny, useless in the real world but important to me degree is only about a year and a half away, why can’t I just write part time and place a little focus on the other stuff part time as well? Why beat myself up over not writing full time when I’m not going to be writing full time anyway because of school right?
One of the big reasons Matt & I moved to the Valley of the Sun was to kick back and relax, to enjoy life, take in the beauty of the little things, and leave the hectic chaos of the northeast pace 3100 miles behind us. If I get here and immediately start stressing out over old habits how can I accomplish that goal? You’re right, I can’t. So this past weekend, I made up my mind to pour a cup of coffee, go sit out in my patio chair and drink it all in. Then I made a few mental shifts…
- I’m staying a part time student, not fast tracking to full time, because a year and a half is a perfectly reasonable amount of time to complete a degree without having a heart attack before it’s even in my hand.
- I will give it my best effort but I’m not going so far above and beyond anymore that I may as well be the Instructor of the class.
- I’m going to be happy with any grade I get as long as it’s above a 3.5 GPA; even if it isn’t the A I’m striving for no one is going to care so why should I?
- I’m going to see the clock as having plenty of time, the sun as having plenty of hours to shine and my brain as having plenty of capacity to store it all.
- If I start getting stressed I’ll do something different like write a blog post or workout. Walking away is sometimes the best solution of all.
- I’ll do a few projects related to paint, take on some jobs painting (especially for existing clients and those people who I already discussed projects with!) and keep the company open, but I’m not actively pursuing it as a full time thing anymore.
And anytime someone asks I’m simply going to state ‘I’m a novelist’.
Because I am.
(As a side note, I started doing the iPod song title/blog post title thingie I mentioned the other day. If you don’t know Emily Elbert, the gal behind the title today, I totally suggest getting out and checking her out, she’s pretty sensational!)