I Might Get Fat

“I spent the entire time in the coffee house writing,” I told my husband.

“That’s great.  I’m glad you got some time to yourself,” he said, sounding a bit preoccupied.

Okay, so I didn’t get the reaction I hoped for.  But that’s probably because I didn’t say what I meant to say.  Which was that I would like to do this for a living, not just pretend to be a writer for a week, but to really do it, week after week.  And for him to not see it as a luxury in which I am indulging, but as an actual contribution to our family and the world.

Why don’t I say that?  I think we all know.  Because he would have an anxiety attack at the revelation that I might seriously contemplate giving up my full time job for a career in which I have never been given the slightest indication that I might somehow earn a paycheck.  Because I’m afraid that he might take a serious look at my “hobby” and declare that I actually have no talent – at least not the kind that would allow me to do this on a professional basis.

Also, because I am not actually certain it’s a good idea myself.  I mean, even assuming I could make a living doing this, do I want to? I have a tendency toward depression on days that I don’t interact with adults.  But is that due to lack of socializing or a feeling of unproductivity?  Because, so far, that feeling has not overcome me during my week of experimenting.   Of course, I am only spending my time writing a couple of times a day.

And I might get fat.  I mean, if I am going to be sitting in coffee houses, I have to order things.  And sitting on my butt writing doesn’t exactly burn the calories that racing around a classroom teaching does.  Probably my husband hasn’t considered that possibility, but I certainly have.

Ideally, I should be able to do both, right?  Work a full time job, and write in my spare time.  I’m a teacher with summers off.  It’s not like I’m a lawyer working eighty hours a week year round for God’s sake.  I could send my little compositions off periodically hoping for an acceptance letter, but keep my day job just in case.

But it doesn’t really work that way.  I remember reading an interview with an author once, and she was disdainful of people who said that they couldn’t find the time to write.  Basically, she stated, if you want to write, you find the time.  Get up early before the kids.  Or stay up late.  Easy for her to say, I thought.  It’s a lot easier to sacrifice your sleep and sanity when you know you are going to get paid for it.  It feels self-indulgent and a little illogical when there’s a pretty high probability that you’re not going to earn a penny.

I’m fairly sure that the author would tell me that I am writing for the wrong reasons, then.     She is probably right.  I don’t really know why I want to write.  I just know that I always thought that I would someday be able to call myself a writer, just like I always knew I would be a teacher.  People seem differently impressed when I say that I am working a book, though, than when I say that I teach elementary school.  I’m not sure how long I can string them along, though, with the book claim.  Eventually, someone is going to say, “Have you been working on the same damn book for twenty years?  Maybe you should find another hobby.”

All I know is that if I spend my life writing as a hobby, and someone doesn’t discover me until I’m dead, I am going to be really furious.  Because I guess we all want to leave some kind of lasting mark on this world, but what satisfaction can you get if it doesn’t happen until after you’re dead?  Surely that’s got to be one of the circles of Hell.  Sorry, Stieg Larsson.


Posted on August 3, 2011, in Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. It may not mean much coming from a fellow teacher, mother, and wannabe writer, but I really enjoy reading this blog. Although I would hardly advice anyone to quit a job in this economy, I must say that your writing is very enjoyable. Thanks for a great blog!

  2. Oh, this made me hurt. This is a conversation we have all the time in my house. I’m married to someone who makes his living with what other people would call a hobby. I’ve been a stay at home mom for three years now and we’ve been able to feed, clothe and shelter our family with what he makes. But that’s it. Every week I am resentful, embarrased and ashamed when I have to do things like make a payment plan with the pediatrician or tell the kids that we cannot get juice this week. And my husband knows it because we talk about it. A lot. And we’ve gotten through it and my marriage has survived because he knows all of this, but he also knows that those feelings are fleeting and small and petty. And I know it, too. The big feeling is pride. Beacause he’s DOING this for God’s sake. So the thing is, you’re not going to make a clean getaway. People are going to be hurt and judgmental. The same people who would be unfailingly supportive if you kept wiriting as a hobby. And there’s always going to be a bad economy or college to save for or a million other things. But you know what’s best for you and your family. And I sincerely hope you get fat.

  3. southerndreamer

    I discovered writing when I was a stay-at-home mom. It was a fleeting dream when I was a child that got shelved as I pursued my science career. I then shelved my career in the hopes of saving a struggling marriage. (didn’t work) I figured out that in a short span of time, writing transformed from a dabbling hobby into a serious career pursuit. I went back to grad school at the same time my marriage cratered. I’m one of those horrid people that works, raises kids, AND writes. I’m realistic enough to know that at this point I need security and a steady income. I don’t have a spouse and my significant other is not in a position to support me and three children. I also think that when the time is right, I’ll be able to say good-bye to the nine to five and after already gaining a fan base and a stack of published books that bring in steady royalties, THEN I can focus solely on the writing career. Perhaps if my marriage were different or I discovered writing earlier…well, “what if’s” are the stuff of stories, not life. So, no matter which route you go, stick with it and believe in yourself.

  4. Blogging/writing is detrimental to the derriere…no joke. My ass has fallen and won’t get up! I’ve been at this since April and the sitting has taken a toll. I’m considering finding one of those Suzanne Sommers squeezy thingamajigs to use when I write.

    I love this post and can totally relate.

    I’m so glad you found my blog because now I get to enjoy yours!

  5. I love the alliteration in detrimental to the derriere! I definitely see where your kids get their eloquence from! I love your blog. It makes me smile!

  1. Pingback: Just Call Me Nostradumpyass « whatimeant2say

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