Friday Speak Out!: When Writing Actually Becomes an Obstacle, Guest Post by Stephanie Romero

Friday, August 30, 2013
I never thought that the very thing I love to do—write—would end up becoming an obstacle to the very thing I love to do. The blessing of being able to work from home…actually making good money writing…having the flexibility to work my life around writing and not the other way around. It was like a dream come true.

Yet it wasn’t really a dream come true. Because suddenly writing became a job. It was no longer a passion. And since I enjoyed the financial benefits, I would take on more than I probably should have. So then I was stressed trying to meet tight deadlines.

Suddenly working from home was a challenge because there was still dinner to cook, laundry to tackle, dust to remove. I couldn’t escape the reality of my personal life because it was intertwined with my work life.

And flexibility to work my life around writing? Somehow everything got turned around and pretty soon I was trying to fit life in around my work. Just ask my husband who wondered what happened to the days when he was off work and we could spend time together. Or my children who always felt like a bother whenever they had to ask me something.

After three years of writing for a living, I found myself wondering “What am I going to do?” when the email arrived in my inbox. That so-called “dream,” the one I knew deep down inside couldn’t possibly last forever…was no longer going to be. All that stood out to me was this: workload reduced.

Actually, the truth is my thoughts were more about the money. What I had been making for a living, would be cut in half (or even more). An offer was made to write a letter of recommendation. Well that’s all well and good but meanwhile…what am I going to do? How am I going to adjust to this decrease in pay?

Then this thought started niggling me in the back of my mind. Maybe this was my chance…to break out of the work of writing and bring back the passion. To write about things that I actually care about. But it was as if an inner war began to take place—sure that sounds great. But what about the money?

Here’s what I’ve discovered…writing just to make money saps the creativity and passion. It takes away from the real writer that is within. It’s not that there is anything wrong with making money from writing. But when it stops up the creative juices…when it hinders you from writing about things that inspire you…it’s become nothing more than a job.

I would guess that there are other writers out there who have experienced the same thing. For me, this is my chance to dust off the ideas that have been sitting in the closet of my mind for some time now. It’s time to get back to the thing I love to do…it’s time to WRITE!

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Stephanie Romero is an independent contractor for We Do Web Content and the creator/instructor of "Recovery from Abuse," an online course that is currently being used in a correctional institution's character-based program. But her true passions are writing about motherhood at Treasuring MOMents and getting real at Faith Messages.

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!



Margo Dill said...

I completely understand where you are coming from. Working life in around your writing. Being a stay-at-home mom and a writer is SO HARD, and no one understands like a writer. I haven't found the magic balance, yet. I just try to cut myself a break and remember to do writing, family, and health each day. (Oh, and cleaning--oh boy, that's the one for me that drives me crazy!) Some days, it's easier than others. I'm glad you are finding something that is bringing your passion back. Thanks for sharing this with us!

Marcia Peterson said...

I relate to what you're saying. It's a real dilemma. If you just write for love though, it seems like you need other sources of income.

Unknown said...

Stephanie--I appreciate hearing your perspective from a "been there, done that" point of view. I often check out the freelance job boards looking at all the jobs that pay (some of them shamefully low) and read books about how to kick up my freelance career, but have held back. I'd love the money but am not sure I want to turn my writing into a job that isn't satisfying. I already did that route for a long time. It's a tricky balance isn't it?

I hope you come back in a couple of months and tell us how you've made the adjustment and if it's a more livable and satisfying solution.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Hi Stephanie ~ I've been there . . . many times and in different professions. For the past fifteen years I've worked from home as a freelance graphic designer. Before that I owned an art gallery and painted for a living, created public art, comics, etc. But after I started designing via computer for other people, I lost all the desire I once had for painting. The one thing I thought I truly loved! It's hard to get back to your passion when you're so burnt out from using that talent for other people.

I also think that when we constantly have a heavy workload our lives become so out of balance that any extra time that could be spend on our own creative projects gets pushed aside because we feel guilty if we’re not spending that precious time with our family. Well, for me, anyway!

What I try to do (and plan to do more often) is align my passions and pay. With design, I started only taking jobs that inspired me. While it didn't exactly get me back in the groove to paint, I'm still hopeful and feel like I'm doing good work.

I second Julie. Please do come back and share. I hope it gets your creative juices flowing!

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