I sit here, uncertain what to write. I follow some pretty prestigious blogs on WordPress (prestigious to me, I guess), and writer’s block tends to filter through their posts like a shoulder shrug and a head shake. For the serious writer, the professional, who has a career in writing with bills, family, food, shelter hinging on what he writes, writer’s block is a joke. For the professional, writer’s block is either a profane form of laziness or a reason to take a short break before returning to work.
I am a professional, and I currently suffer from writer’s block.
*insert inspirational quote from Stephen King*
The reality of it is, my full-time (overtime) job is high intensity, physical, demanding, and lacking empathy or respect. My manager is amazing. The job is amazing. But when I go to work at 7 in the morning and return home at 8:30 at night, there is little in between to pay bills, let alone laundry, food, showering, and a social life. And given this job is always about the numbers and some demands from some guy a thousand miles away in Texas, who has never even stepped foot in a customer’s home, it wears on me. “You should be able to do this,” the CEO says. “Others can.” This job has a 42% divorce rate among people who work it more than a year. Think about that for a moment.
Not all of us are at the place yet where we can say, “screw writer’s block and write.” You either make time or find a job that allows you to make time. Because bills are important. Showering is important. Laundry is important. Existing with other people is important (even for those introverts out there).
I’ll be completely candid with everyone: I just accepted a job with another company to work from home, paying 2 bucks an hour less than my current job, and only guaranteed 20 hours a week. It’s a very dangerous investment, and has the capacity to blow up in my face. But I need it. I absolutely, tears-in-my-eyes require it.
My family isn’t keen on my accepting the new job. They don’t want me hurting. They want me stable, solvent, and paid up on my bills. They want me happy, ultimately, and the old school way to do that is to make as much money as you can. I just got off the phone with my father, and he told me I shouldn’t have taken it.
I don’t think a lot of people understand this–at least, my family, who are all engineers, accountants, business owners, and familypeople–but just because it doesn’t pay big doesn’t mean I don’t value it. The reasons are numerous: family, power, accomplishment, whatever. This is what I love.
I entreat anyone suffering from this rock-and-a-hard-place to take my advice: if you think writing is worth it, do it. If you think writing is a requirement for your stability and survivability, do it. Take your support group’s advice with a grain of salt, but ultimately, this is your life. Yours. They come from their places. You come from yours. If things get tough, and you’re required to choose between happiness and writing? Stop writing. If you’re required to choose between two things, and one is writing BECAUSE it’s happiness, and the other isn’t, don’t ever stop. Ever.
And writer’s block has many origins. It could come from distraction, from a type A personality with a thousand things to do. It could come from having a family, and children to take to baseball. It could come from valuing a properly washed head, or paying the bills on time. Or, it could come from fear and doubt. You might not be good enough. You might not ever be known. You might not be able to *insert inspirational quote from Stephen King*.
I’ll be honest and say I’m a little shook up by my father’s veracity toward my career choice. I’m an adult. I’ve been one for a very long while. It hurts a little, but then, it also reinforces something he doesn’t want: my want to surround myself with supportive people might not include him. Of course, I also have to understand the circumstances of his intense lecture: he just lost his father, and we buried him yesterday. A man is wont to look at his legacy, and want more for me than simply surviving.
Not writing broke me. I will do a lot to ensure it won’t happen again.
And look. My writer’s block is fixed.