A while ago, while posting a vague Facebook post about some decisions I had made in regards to career/future, my phone auto-corrected “gut” to “guy.” As in “I just have to trust my gut (or, as it read: guy) and listen.” To which a dear friend responded, “your guy?” and my sister chimed in, “… we need to talk soon.”
And I shook my head, and cursed my smart-phone (something that happens a bit it seems), laughed, and responded with the correction, and disbelief that they would think I would trust a guy (especially a guy who neither of them had ever even heard the existence of) with life decisions. Because, I suppose someday I might be in a relationship serious enough where I would be trusting “my guy,” and seeking their input into big changes I am choosing to take. But I am not in such a place now.
Which is really just a random glimpse into my life and long introduction to what I really want to write about.
The reality is I am getting serious about something. I have to admit, this is the first time in my writing career that I’ve been actually serious about my writing. At least, in some ways. And to the point where I am actually making some decisions with the question in mind of, “What might this do to my goals as a writer?”
Before my writing had been a pastime or hobby. Something I enjoyed and felt driven to do. I dreamed about publishing and “being a real writer.” I dreamed about people reading my writing, people who I didn’t get together with on a regular basis, or weren’t related to me. And I even submitted my writing for publications, in magazines and such, gathering little stacks of rejection letters at different points in my life.
But, even though I was writing and writing and writing, there was a lot I wasn’t doing. A lot of things that, just in the past few months (and because of things that have been building and developing over the years) have become a real part of my life. And I realized that I now, really think of myself as a writer. I refer to it as my “work” — not my “job,” that’s something else entirely — but my work, certainly. And it’s causing me to look at some parts of it a little differently.
Things like editing… really editing. Or setting aside the time to write every day, even if I have no time in that day? Making decisions about what things I am willing to let go of in order to give myself what I need to work on my writing. Being willing to keep working on a story even if the “muse” has left and I feel burnt out. Setting deadlines, and sticking to them. Setting schedules, and putting myself “out there.”
All these things I have been doing, and slowly am becoming aware of. And I am doing these things in my own time (obviously. I mean, I’ve been writing for a long time now, and am only just getting round to being serious about it like this), and in my own way. Because I always seem to do things in my own way. Though I suppose we all do — that’s what makes us each unique and special. We have our own approaches to things, our own ways to pursue our craft and go about our lives.
I’ve reminded myself a lot lately that I can’t compare my own personal timeline to that of other people’s. Just because so-and-so had done x, y and z by the time they were such-and-such an age, does not mean that I need to be. Or that I should be. Because everything that has led me to the place I am in my life, the decisions I have made, the things I have and haven’t done, all have helped to make me me.
And I keep this in mind as I continue to look at the writing I’m doing, and push myself to a point of feeling like my writing, my craft, is really my work. Writing my way to something. Writing, my way.