There was a good long time where I thought that talent and minimal effort was all that was needed to produce art. I viewed writers, artists, and others as people who lived much like I did having full, active lives while somehow managing to also produce great works, be it novels, or paintings, or music, or whatever.
I can now say that I’ve learned that it is patently false.
This year has been a great learning year for me. It is teaching me a great amount on the focus and dedication needed to be able to become a writer. This is all being done where while I also work a career and raise a family.
The other day, something hit me as a friend asked me on my status of seeing a particular movie: it isn’t what I am doing. It’s what I am not doing that can be telling of what myself and other artists sacrifice for the sake of their art.
That’s right, there is a lot that I have been missing out on for the sole aim of writing my books. It’s been paying off in my volume of work, but I am losing out on a lot as well.
Here’s a quick rundown:
- I am not watching TV. Nothing. Nada. No Walking Dead, no GOT, no Westworld, no comedies, no dramas. Nothing.
- My video gaming is significantly reduced, maybe 30 minutes a day, if at all, often only a treat or via playing a game with family.
- I am not going out to see any movies. I saw Solo: A Star Wars Story. That’s it so far this year.
- I haven’t been reading as much as I’d like.
- I don’t go out with friends much if at all.
- I haven’t been board gaming very often.
- I am not working out at all.
- I haven’t been sleeping much.
- I am not taking rides through beautiful landscapes.
But I’ve been writing. A lot. Over 1,000 words a day. Every day. And I’ve been trying to work in the other things that come with building a career in writing.
It’s not a bad thing. One might believe that I am bemoaning that I am missing out on so much. In a way, I am a little bit. There’s bits and pieces of me that wishes that I could do more. But it would mean that I wouldn’t be writing.
And that is my point.
I want to be a writer. Now, more than ever before. And this year I’ve been willing to make those decisions that are needed to ensure that I get closer to achieving that goal. But it is taking sacrifices.
More than seeing the work needed to make something happen, I think that it is useful acknowledging the things that we have to let go of when we choose to pursue our dreams whole-heartedly. Because it is up to us to decide if those dreams are worth it.
To me, writing is.