I used to love Baskin Robbins Ice Cream, they had all the best flavors when I was young. I’d stare at the choices, my breath clouding the glass protecting the treasured treats. I’d vacillate between the creamy chocolate with peanut butter chunks, or brilliant orange, red, and green sherbet, but I’d always settle on my favorite-chocolate chip mint. It was an easy decision.Of course, as I grew older the simple choices of which ice cream I’d like evolved into more complex ones, like what area should I study in (that took me some time to figure out), and whom should I marry? (it was one of the better decisions I’ve made)
This week I had another difficult decision to make. I was offered a position in another department. Great? It was bittersweet.If I took this new job, I would have to go full time. I currently work three days a week (but not just 8 hours, I can work 12 or more hours on those days). I would lose two days to write, but I’d have a more set schedule (8-5, no weekends, no holidays, and NO CALL!!! Woohoo!-sorry if you’ve ever been on call you know what I mean).
It was hard to make the decision, to lose those two days. I thought about it, I wrote lists detailing the pros and cons, I looked at other options, and consulted friends (I owe a few people some chocolate for listening to me and they know who they are). I agonized, because I wanted to be able to write full time.
I decided to take the job, because I am very unhappy in my current position, I need to pay bills, and honestly I get to learn something new. Plus, at the current rate I am plodding along on my writing road, I cannot afford to write full time…someday though.
DISCIPLINE & DRIVE
With my decision to change jobs, I realized I would have to increase my discipline. This means I’d have to write EVERY day for an hour at least, at night, although my best time is in the morning with a cup of coffee. I could blow it off and write haphazardly on the weekends, but what would this accomplish? Nothing—and that is my greatest fear.
I have a drive to write, to be published, and make a living at telling stories. Everyone who reads this blog (or a large majority) has this inner drive. We wouldn’t be hanging out in RWA if we didn’t. If I don’t focus my drive, and use discipline—to sit down and write when I don’t want to, then all I have are empty dreams. I’ll end up at the end of my life saying “I could’ve” or “I should’ve” written. I don’t want that.
Nothing good ever comes easy. Yes, we all hear of the new writer who gets the six figure deal, or that awesome agent, and the outstanding editor (I heard of one who got ALL three). The reality is, for me at least, I am going to have to work for it. I am going to have to earn it. Even the most gifted writer and story teller has to pay their dues (I still wish there was a Writer’s Fairy Godmother that would help now and then—even if it’s to work out a plot point, smooth out the dialogue, or tame the grammatical gremlins).
I have made my difficult decision, now I have to discipline myself, using my drive to help me. I won’t be the fastest writer, but I’ll get it down, one word at a time.
So have you had to make a difficult decision recently, and how did it affect your writing? Do you have more drive then discipline? How are you going to increase your time to write?