It’s a delicate balance to strike

Grounds of Castle MacDuff, East Wymyss, Scotland

Like most authors, I don’t make a living doing this. I have a part time retail job, do a ton of stuff every day for our family in house chores, paying bills, managing medical appointments/prescriptions, etc. I do this stuff daily, Monday-Friday, because then I don’t spend an entire day off doing nothing BUT this stuff.

I have fun things I do, too. I play Dungeons and Dragons each week, or when we can, depending on if enough people can make it that Saturday. I participate (currently remotely due to COVID) in the Society for Creative Anachronism. I do things with my husband.

I write. I promote. I post on this blog.

Honestly, there’s not enough time in the day some days. Something has to give. It can’t be the dishes, laundry, or making food. It can’t be gaming prep, medical appointments, or taking care of me so I can work the next day. So, what ends up being put to the side? Writing, the blog, and promoting the book I have out.

I don’t like it. I don’t know of any author who does. But this is the harsh reality of being at the start of your career. You’ll get people who tell you that you ‘have’ to make the time to promote or write. That you need to be willing to sacrifice everything else that makes your life function in order to do those two things. If you don’t, you’re not a ‘real’ writer.

Fuck them.

We can’t be expected to do fifteen hours of work in 8. Not and be sane. For me, it’s got other issues. I know there’s authors out there who get up at 3 am to have time to write. Great for them! I’ve had a lifelong problem with insomnia. My sleep debt got so high that I would get panic attacks triggered by sound. The switch in my brain that controls ambient noise would suddenly stop working. I heard everything, understood nothing, and it felt like a physical assault by sound. The only thing we were able to do to combat it is a strict sleep schedule. Which means naps if I don’t sleep well the night before, and no early morning writing sprints for me.

The whole idea that you’re not a ‘real’ something based on the observation of others is nothing more than a type of gatekeeping. Those who hold to it aren’t interested in helping you. It’s about moving the bar, making a goal seem unattainable unless you meet extreme and sometimes impossible requirements.

It’s a way to discourage people from trying to do something.

I grew up with that attitude being thrown at me from my mother. If you couldn’t do it perfectly – by HER standards – the first time, you may as well give up. Because she saw any attempt that ended in failure as not a way to learn and grow, but a reason to walk away.

I believed that for 40 years.

I still have people who claim to support me but really don’t. If it’s out of fear, insecurity, or jealousy, I don’t know. I don’t care. This is something I know I can do. I learn with every rejection, each new word I put to page. I grow with my characters, the feedback from my betas, and those who DO support me.

True support doesn’t mean telling someone you believe in them but then do things to undercut their dreams. True support doesn’t mean trying to get them to write/draw/sculpt what you like. It means being objective enough to realize it’s their art/book/drawing. Not yours.

So, yeah, some days it’s hard to find the time to write. But that doesn’t make me any less of an author. It makes me human.

BB/Chan Eil Eagal Orm

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