I can’t tonight, I’m writing
I got thinking last night about writing and sacrifice and what writers sacrifice to get the job done. The easy thing to point to is a social life. I’m lucky enough to date two women who know that my first commitment is to writing and not to them, and I’m lucky enough that communication is very important for us, but I haven’t seen either of them since Sunday. Last night, my date was my computer and the cats who wanted attention while I spent four hours with five characters who live in a small town inside my head. A couple of hours into my work, a good friend messaged me with some very interesting potential developments in her sex life. I had a moment where I wondered how much I was missing of the lives of my friends as they rolled on while I spent time writing out stories.
Writers sacrifice. Everyone does, yes. But there is a specific sacrifice that comes within the creative community. From artists to singers to writers, we give up a lot and we risk hurting people in the process. “I can’t tonight, I’m writing” always runs the risk of sounding like “I really just don’t want to go to your party or hang out with you or anything at all.”
I think it’s good to have this reflection every so often because it’s so easy to get defensive about the reality of life as a writer. I know I’ve often rolled my eyes and stomped off to do something that I know I’ll enjoy doing but honestly, I’d rather be writing. It’s easy to say “no really, this is my life!” But for myself, I’ve really never put it in terms of personal sacrifice. I’ve never really sat and thought about what I could be missing … until a friend messaged me about her sex life that is.
To all the writers out there who are struggling with this very thing, it’s okay. I think we’re supposed to be conflicted as hell. I mean, I’d rather not be. I’d much rather be making a living writing my books and plays and then hey, I could totally have a social life, right?
Not really. I mean, think about it.
I’d still rather be writing.
What about you?