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Friday, August 23, 2013

 

Friday Speak Out!: Long Roads, Heartaches, and Why Can't l Just be a Writer?, Guest Post by Janet L. Cannon

At various times in my life, I've complained about my jobs. Yeah, I admit it publicly. I'm not always perky and silly and punny. Sometimes I yell and get angry and frustrated just like every other human being on the planet.

My current job is no exception. While I love working with children, love teaching technology, and love the people I work with, it saps nearly all my energy. During the school year when I come home at night I am a nearly lifeless husk of a pod-person. Being an introvert in an extrovert's world will do that. Sometimes I wonder how I drive home in my dazed stupor. I have no active brain cells left to write with, therefore, August through May, I write almost nothing creative at all. Which makes me sad. Nine months of the year lost because I have to eat, pay for a place to live, pay insurance, and fill my car with gas.

And I begin to wonder...wouldn't I be a better writer if I could quit my job and write full time? If my husband made enough money for us to live on, I could do the freelance gig to fill in the gaps while writing my stories and novels on the side and that would be bliss incarnate. What if we cut back a little more here and there, went out to eat less, and saved our money more? We could make it. It would make me a better writer. Really!

Maybe.

Then again, when I look at the YA novel I'm writing I couldn't have done that without LIVING around children who deal with real issues of abuse, neglect, learning disabilities, and social dysfunctions every day. Currently I have two people very close to me who are going through very scary medical situations. If I didn't take time off from writing and go visit them and cry with them and comfort them, I wouldn't see what going through those situations felt like.

Research is a wonderful tool. The Internet is my friend when it comes to many aspects of my books because I can't possibly know everything about everything. But when it comes to PEOPLE, nothing substitutes the actual living of your life to make your writing real. You will create more believable, more REAL characters when you really live. Sometimes that means you're not able to write as much as you want.

But some day, there will be a day when I won't have breakfast duty, lunch duty and bus duty all in the same day that I have three meetings, no prep hour, and have to break up a girl fight. (Girl fights are the WORST!) I look forward to that day.

Ah, retirement. Fourteen years down the road. Unless my husband suddenly gets a six-figure job. Which that works, too.

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 Janet L. Cannon is a happy wife, a technology teacher, an avid runner, an origami enthusiast, an obsessive crafter, a gaming nerd, a book hog, a graphic design enthusiast, and happens to have a little time between learning new hobbies to write stories, essays, and novels. She has both her BA and MA in English and is proud to have never had a job that required her to say, “Do you want fries with that?” She blogs at Revision is a Dish Best Served Cold and can also be found on Facebook.
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Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!

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4 Comments:

Blogger Margo Dill said...

Janet:
You make a great, great, great point about having to be around people and living life to be a writer. I know writers who actually take on a job or shadow someone, etc, just to get the experience for their books. So, look, you don't have to do that! :) LOL You already have the job. . .

I feel for you because I understand exactly how you feel. I used to feel the same way. And actually as the mother of an almost 3 year old and a freelancer, there are several days when I'm too tired to work on anything creative either.

When I was teaching full time, I remember reading a helpful, and rather older book, I think, titled: The Weekend Novelist. It's how I started the book that I just got the contract for from Rocking Horse Publishing. However, I will tell you that book took me FOREVER to write. :)

5:16 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

I can relate with the lack of writing time. Though I write all day long (for work), I'd rather be doing creative stuff.

And I do wonder if my creativity will suffer because I'm working from home, and am isolated from the ability to observe people as they live their lives.

I miss the water cooler conversations and easy companionship with co-workers.

I'm the sole breadwinner right now, so quitting my job to work on short stories and novels is just a dream...until my husband gets his six-figure job :).

5:53 AM  
Blogger LuAnn Schindler said...

I taught full-time for 20 years and wrote when I could squeeze in the minutes.

Then I remarried and moved and started freelancing full-time. It was tough to be alone all day, but man, you can get a lot accomplished in an 8-hour work block!

Now I'm back to teaching 3 classes a day. at least they are right away in the morning. But...it makes it a delicate balance between school work and writing. If I've realized one thing, it's this: I miss my writing time and I'm pickier about which intrusions I actually let disrupt my day.

Until I no longer teach (which means I need to learn how to say NO), I'll continue to write and try to balance everything that comes my way. Hang in there; it'll get better!

8:03 PM  
Blogger LuAnn Schindler said...

I taught full-time for 20 years and wrote when I could squeeze in the minutes.

Then I remarried and moved and started freelancing full-time. It was tough to be alone all day, but man, you can get a lot accomplished in an 8-hour work block!

Now I'm back to teaching 3 classes a day. at least they are right away in the morning. But...it makes it a delicate balance between school work and writing. If I've realized one thing, it's this: I miss my writing time and I'm pickier about which intrusions I actually let disrupt my day.

Until I no longer teach (which means I need to learn how to say NO), I'll continue to write and try to balance everything that comes my way. Hang in there; it'll get better!

8:03 PM  

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