Dancing to Dirges

Depressing and happy things Tim says, sometimes while drunk

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dreading Mondays

Today is Monday. Mondays are usually about drudgery, about picking up the pieces of the jobs you abandoned on Friday, getting back into the flow of the task, aligning yourself with the corporate plan and getting at it. Getting on task. Working.

I've always said that I didn't want the kind of job that makes you look forward to Fridays, and dread Mondays. And yet, I have had precisely that job for the last... uh. Always. Almost fifteen years, I guess.

Last Wednesday, I tendered my resignation. I'm done with presort. I'm done with fundraising. I'm done with dreading Mondays.

This is my last full week here. I'll have next Monday, but that will be a short week, and I don't suspect there will be much for me to do. And then on Thursday morning I'll wake up, and my time will be my own. I'll have no excuse to make about how long I can devote to this project or that book. For the last nine years I've been writing nights and weekends, neglecting relationships that mean the world to me, not taking care of myself mentally, physically or spiritually. Grinding.

And at the end of the day, when I settle down in front of the book each night after a full day of work, exhausted, there's no way I'm writing as well as I could be. I'm certainly not performing up to my own standards. So now I have the chance to do that. I can write as well as I can, with no excuses, no filters, no buffers between me and the page.

Can I make it as a full time writer? We'll see. That question has been hanging over my head for years. As long as I had the day job, it wasn't a question I had to answer. I have to answer it now. I have to succeed now, or accept failure.

I'm not the kind of guy who accepts failure.

4 Comments:

At 8:54 AM , Blogger Stephan Kelly said...

Best of luck, not that you'll need it! :)

 
At 9:55 AM , Blogger Dawn Moore said...

Few people realize how mental exhausting conventional jobs are. To be able to come home from a day job and jump right into writing is a skill that I admire in many, and completely lack myself. Talking with other writers, I know it's rare for people to be able to do both well so I wish you luck in your endeavors. I'm in the same boat right now.

As for failureā€¦ I think living a dream takes an extraordinary amount of stamina and the ability to cope with failure. Rarely do talented writers, artists, and musicians hit it big on their first attempt, so it's important to know that failure may well become a big part of your new life. Accept failure, but don't let it break you down, or push you back toward the more stable and conventional path of a normal job. A normal job is easier, that's why so many people do it. It's also why so many people die regretting they didn't live their own lives. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/01/top-five-regrets-of-the-dying?fb=native&CMP=FBCNETTXT9038) Take comfort in the fact that some of the most influential artists and writers are known to us because they kept struggling past failure until they got their break. And who knows, you could be dead before your work receives noticeā€¦ So maybe the real comfort comes from knowing you tried and you didn't give up, when so few people have the courage and stamina to do that.

I just failed myself, this past week. I spent 8 months on something that didn't pan out and sacrificed a lot of focus I could have spent growing other things. I'm feeling down about it right now, and caught myself looking at normal job listings last night and crying. So it's nice to read your post today. It's a reminder of the choice I've already made, and a reminder to keep going.

I wish you the best of luck, and also highly recommend 750words.com - it's a good way to make yourself write every day. I try to at least get 300 words in a day, just so I can get half credit. There is a great deal of accomplishment in seeing all the little days checked off.

 
At 10:16 AM , Blogger S.M.D. said...

Seems silly to say "best of luck," but there it is. I bet you'll do great! Let the folks at The Skiffy and Fanty Show know when you've got a new book coming out. Bet they'll want to have you on for a chat!

(Bet = definitely, since I'm one of the silly hosts.)

 
At 11:06 AM , Blogger Brent Weeks said...

Tim, I'm a writer who couldn't have a job AND write, and it was terrifying to quit. It was also one of the best decisions of my life. I thought, Better poor and happy than still pretty poor and miserable. I applaud your courage and wish you the best.

 

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