Saturday, July 26, 2008

a question of intention

My twin brother and I have been lamenting the fact that we both need to get second jobs, and are putting in lacklaster efforts to find them -- not because we are lazy, or indifferent to the urgency, but (and let me clarify that I'm speaking more for me and merely speculating for him) because we simply wish we didn't need to. Our own jobs are mentally and physically draining enough. We're both trying to find things that allow us to make enough to do very little -- 10 hours, tops (for me, anyway). Very, very hard.

I'm not going to use this as a forum to voice once again the injustice of a college instructor not able to afford a landline or even basic cable, but to voice something more central to my own struggle: I'd rather be making my money as a full-time writer. I'd like to think that that is my second job. Hell, that it's my first job, and that teaching is the fallback.
But I can't, 'cause it's not paying me anything.

And that fills me w/ emptiness and frustration.
I was supposed to submit a short story to a writers journal contest that was due July 30. I suppose if I overnight the thing I can still make it, but the truth is that I don't think the story is up to par, even w/ all the hacking and revising I did to it. It's not first place material, and why should I submit anything less than my best work just for the sake of submitting? I am struggling to find my place in this writers' community-- I don't seem to belong to the short-story-submit-your-stuff-to-magazines-and-journals (mainly because I don't write short stories); I'm not a journalist; I like blogging but haven't found a forum where I can combine it w/ another expertise and do it for money yet.

So how do I change this? What's behind it?

I think I'm afraid of what I don't know.
I don't know these avenues, and don't want to know them. They are unfamiliar to me, and unfamiliar has always been discomforting. That is what holds me back.

And that's not to say that I won't ever leave my front door (heck, I've relocated to different states twice now-- on my own!). When I want something, when I really want something, I go after it. It's the one description about me I hear from family and friends: "You're a go-getter, Leese." And they're not wrong. But there's a condition. When I want it, there's a knowing that comes w/ the desire, and that knowing is what allows me to venture into unchartered territory so that even the unfamiliar is no longer an obstacle. It's like being given the map ahead of time rather than feel your way through. Wayne Dyer and others would call this intention.

I wonder, what is my intention when it comes to being a published, paid writer? What keeps me from knowing? Is it all the negative talk that comes from the outside, from agents and family members and other writers who constantly talk about how tough this business is and how you have to be really, really good to make it? Is it that I'm lacking perserverence or discipline? Is it that I'm lacking confidence, that not-good-enough demon whispering in my ear? Or is it D, all of the above?

What do I want -- not just for my writing career, but for my life?

Because I sure as hell know I really don't want a second job -- not the time-card, clock-punching, fill out another W-2 form kind of job, anyway. Not the kind that you dread, that feels like your soul is whithering away minute by minute, and that your precious life is being wasted. I at least know enough to know that that doesn't have to be the case. But I also know that I've got to make up my mind one way or another, because rent's goin' up, gas prices ain't comin' down, student loans are ever-present, and I'm going to have to do something to keep from getting into trouble.

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