No, there isn’t a typo in my heading today. Right now I am looking at two different types of work – the kind that brings in the green and the kind that feeds my alter ego 🙂
The problem I am facing is that one is pulling on my heart strings more than the other and it’s a real struggle to be determined and meet my obligations. Because I am in full NaNoWriMo mode, I feel inspired, motivated and determined so the energy I am committing to this challenge is really high. Yet I still have commitments that I have made and they are really good and valuable projects to commit to – it’s just that staying the course is currently a real challenge.
I know that I will actually meet them – my obligations, that is. That’s not the issue. This issue is more that I procrastinate and find myself ‘meeting’ those obligations in a last minute rush rather than sticking to the carefully thought out schedule I have worked hard to create. And I am not sure I want to live like that any more. It’s exhausting and overwhelming, and creates a level of stress that my mind and body just don’t want to cope with now.
And then there is the novel. My novel. My characters that are coming to life in ways that I never anticipated. It’s exciting, empowering and motivating…and highly distracting! I’ve seriously contemplated just throwing in the towel on trying to be a business woman but my gut says that this is something I actually need to work through instead of move to my default position of moving on the the next cool thing. But I won’t lie – it’s really hard!
I used the think that authors spent their days just working on their novels, hidden away in some tiny paper laden room or spread out on a deck chair tapping away on their laptops (actually, this is the extreme version, of course!), but since setting up a business to support authors in their pursuit to self publish, I have discovered that this is not the case at all.
In fact, most of the authors I have met so far split their time between paid jobs that often have little to do with their writing, family commitments and of course, their current work in progress. Even authors who have had a decent level of success have to balance their time between book signings and appearances and publishing commitments and time to keep writing. Whatever they ‘re balancing, they seem to be the ultimate experts in the balancing act and I’d love to pick their brains to find out how they do it!
And here’s the thing: I don’t have to earn a living as my amazing hubby is the primary bread winner so anything I contribute is candy money and I am usually okay with that. But lately I’ve found myself feeling more and more pressure to prove my business worth and show a decent return on the investment so that I can justify my business but all this has done is cause more stress, make me feel less capable and affect my ability to write well.
What have I learned then?
Running your own business is cool. Really cool. But don’t allow the expectations of other people running their businesses to steer your ship because it’s your ship and your destination. You’re the captain so you must know where you’re going and why and not be distracted by how fast or slow other ships are travelling.
So for now, as I sit here looking at my now nearly 17,000 word novel in progress and my carefully planned out schedule, I have a choice to make. Stick to my schedule and trust that the time I have put aside to write will be enough and put my big girl pants on to get my paid work done, or drift off into my own little world of justifications and indulge my own current flow of motivation.
My gut says it’s time to do a little bit more growing up, and trust that I will actually finish this creative project as well and if you’re anything like me, just know that I am praying for your success and capacity to push through as well. Let’s stand together on this – let me know what your hurdles are and how you are going about jumping them.
May today launch you into the waters you’re meant to be swimming in and keep your course steady.
Miriam E. Miles has a finger in quite a few creative pies – her personal writing includes poetry, short reflective pieces on family, identity and spiritual awakening and her work life is spent helping clients build authentic and engaging social media connections.
To chat with Miriam email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’d like to follow my NaNoWriMo journey, click the follow button on the top right corner of the page. And thanks! If you’re also doing the challenge, let me know and I’ll follow you back to support you!