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This Writing Life: A Kick up the Backside from the Universe (aka Making Writing a Priority)

25 July, 2011

I tend to keep this blog fairly impersonal, at least as far as anything beyond writing goes. It’s been quiet here this week though, and I wanted to talk about why – and about how, after a few weeks of slow progress, I’m trying to get my writing back on track.

You see, about six weeks ago now, I decided I was going to try for a new job. I duly filled in the application, then heard that I would be getting an interview. In the month gap that followed, I tried to keep writing but, as is ever the case when life gets turned upside-down, it was much more difficult than usual. As I mentioned in my last post, I started working on my next novel, which was partly a means to keep my writing moving at a time when I was finding it increasingly hard to concentrate (it worked, for a while, and I have around 8k words of that novel now).

And then the interview came around. For about a week before, I wrote very little at all. The interview itself came and went and, honestly, I didn’t feel it went particularly well. By sheer coincidence though, a few hours after the interview, I received an email relating to one of my short stories, saying it had been shortlisted for an anthology. Now, I sent that particular story out months ago and had given it very little thought since. Whether the story ultimately gets into the anthology is fairly irrelevant right now (although I’d love it if it was chosen, of course). I count myself an atheist, and one who doesn’t believe in fate or karma or much more than coincidence, but this particular coincidence felt like a cosmic kick up the backside. It was telling me, if you haven’t already guessed, that I should stop worrying about interviews and jobs, and simply get back to what makes me happiest: writing.

Because, through all this, writing has been the once constant and the one thing that always does make me happy. It can be easy to get caught up in worrying about money and jobs and careers. Sometimes you have to worry about those things. But you also have to prioritise the things that matter the most, be that family, or friends, or art in any form. It can be a hard lesson to learn, especially when it takes rejection in other spheres (like an interview) to learn it, but it’s an important lesson too, and one which is only going to make me work harder on my writing. It is, after all, what I want to do, not something I’m only doing for the money.

 

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