Wednesday, January 11, 2012

#ROW80 - Health Hurdles

Still sort of in ramping-up mode. There have been some personal hurdles to the start of this year that have forced writing to take a bit of a back seat. My wife's been having some health issues (we don't know a lot right now, which is why I'm being a bit circumspect), so we've been primarily focused on that, as one might expect. I've still been managing to crawl forward, but I suppose I'm glad this has hit me in between projects. Focusing on whole-heartedly on writing right now would be rough. Instead, I'm just doing some casual outlining and research for the next book, and patiently waiting for my editors to finish up. Here's a look at the goals:
  • Lesson Learned - Some things are more important than writing. Like your health and the health of your loved ones. As much as I'd like to be pressing forward, it does no one any good to push out crap when your heart is elsewhere.
  • Project Progress - I've worked the outline for my next book to the point where I think I'm reading to start writing. I'm going to attempt to do that this week, but I'm going to ratchet down my speed. I was planning to set the goal of one page per day with one day "off" per week. Instead, I'm going to give myself an extra off day, and shoot for just five pages. Even then, if I find I'm not hitting the goal, I may downgrade further next week. The point here is that, while I'm not hard at work, writing is a part of who I am and how I deal with things. It's not going to stop completely... I just have to find the right balance for the current situation (which can and will change weekly).
  • Blogging - Writing posts is a bit easier than writing new fiction. It's simply less taxing on the emotions/brain. I can be a little less formal, a little less strict with myself. Thus, I want to keep up with my blogging goals. I may not be as social, but I can still write. It'll keep me practicing. This last week saw me 3/3 on the gaming blog and 3/3 here. I'm going to knock out my personal post when we know what's going on with my wife (since a bunch of my family reads that, and I don't want to scare them unnecessarily). The posts may not all be gems, and my experimental fiction story lines have ground to a halt, but I'm still writing. That's the important part.
Writers write. I've said that here before, and that's really my mantra. People close to me often marvel at the writing output. The concept of putting a novel together baffles them, and I find it hard to shrug off the praise. Yeah, I know it's an achievement, but what only another writer can understand is that... I've always written, and I always will write. I'm not happy unless I'm writing in some form or another. I may not always be fiction. Sometimes it's simply personal journal stuff, or crazy dark poetry, or whatever strikes my fancy. Writers write. It is simply how we relate to the world. To me, being proud of writing is sort of like being proud of breathing. I know that's totally not fair to myself, but it's just hard for me to be confident when someone tells you that "wow, you breathe better than other people." 

On the other hand, I guess people don't really "work" at breathing better (though you could make the case for athletes and training). I definitely work at writing. Most writers do. It's craft as well as an unconscious reflex.

In any case, I wanted to link to Dean Wesley Smith's recent article comparing "Authors" to "Writers." I've always appreciated his definitions of the two. There are subtle differences, but when I say I'm a Writer, to me that's like saying I'm a Catholic Christian, an Athlete, or a Gamer. It's a way of life, an indication of priorities, where I'm happiest. When I say I'm an Author, it's analogous to when I tell people I'm an Engineer. That is the occupation. DWS does a great job of drawing a line in the sand. For now, anyway, I consider myself a writer first and an author second. I hope to remain that way. I think it holds you true to the craft, and will keep you from growing complacent.

And the words keep trickling out...
  • Since last check in: 4,586
  • New Fiction: 0 (In between projects)
  • Round 1 Total: 6,858


Anonymous said...

Can you imagine getting paid to breathe? Receiving money for something you were doing... something you HAD to do anyway?

Wouldn't it be nice to be paid to write?

Healing thoughts and prayers to you and your wife for an accurate diagnosis and swift recovery.

Matt said...

I'll be honest... some days I feel like I *should* be paid to breathe. I mean, sure I'd do it anyway, but life can get so crazy that you *almost* forget to breathe.

But yes, I would love to make a living with my writing. I've known people that, though luck and hard work, have found their dream jobs. None of them are writers, actually, but their descriptions share a common theme: they are doing what they *feel* they are supposed to be doing.

I never feel as "right" as when I'm writing. All of the other things I've done... well, they've just been for a paycheck. And that motivation will only get you so far.

(Unless, I guess, simply making money is your dream job. For some people, it seems that way. Not that I don't like money, mind you. It can open a lot of doors. But it isn't the core reason I want to drive me.)

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry your wife is having health issues. I know it stresses you out, but it also seems like you use writing as a little bit of an outlet when you can. Just take care of your beloved first...the writing will happen when it happens.

I'll be saying a prayer.

Matt said...

Thanks. So far, we don't think it's super serious. More just a giant annoyance.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your wife. I hope she gets better soon. I totally understand about priorities. Do what you need to do. Writing will come as it needs to.

amy kennedy said...

I'm sorry too. Glad you're finding balance,though, knowing that the family stuff just has to take precedence. I'm going to click the link and read the writer/author piece -- think I might need it. My thoughts are with you and your wife.

Matt said...

Thanks, both of you. It means a lot.

Sonia G Medeiros said...

I hope your wife is doing well soon. I agree with you about somethings being more important than writing. Sometimes you have to cut yourself a lot of slack.

Matt said...

Definitely, and thanks for the well wishes.

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