Sunday, April 25, 2010

When It's Time to Say, "Enough."

...when you've been working your bloomin' tail off at the day job to get a book out that is your employer's idea, not necessarily your own...and you still take two projects home from work on Friday evening, something you never do...simply because everyone else is pitching as hard as they can and you don't want to make it look like you don't care about your colleagues' work getting out on time.
...when you, and your colleagues, are IN this position because your employer overcommits, rouses up the troops with rah-rah teamwork talk, and praises you all to the skies when you do well, so you naturally behave like children looking for another pat on the head. (Or, conversely, you can't ever shake the lurking fear that if you should ever refuse to do something like a good soldier, that they'll find some other good soldier who WILL do it with a smile, and they'll kick you to the curb.)
...and when you're a writer yourself. A writer, dammit. A novelist. A person who has her own work to do, her own stories to tell, and her own career to think about...but you're too exhausted working for everyone else to think straight, much less accomplish anything toward that end.

So today, I said, "Enough."
Those manuscripts I took home? They're sitting in the exact same place I put them on Friday afternoon. I haven't touched them. I feel guilty about that. I did, of course, check my day job e-mail and found an e-mail from the proofreader, as promised.
I did nothing with it.

That freelance client with whom I spent almost two hours online yesterday while he fed me all kinds of material he wanted me to go over--as soon as possible, preferably the day before yesterday--so he could get his project put together that he really, really wanted to get out...after I wrote and rewrote web copy for him in a lot of freelance hours this week already? When he saw me online and sent me an IM today...I didn't answer.
I said, "Enough."

I've been pushed to the limit these last two weeks, and tomorrow morning, the last minute crunch to get this rush book out for my employer will start anew. I actually heard one of the authors mentioning that they wanted this thing to production before noon. We'll make it, but I won't be able to do another stitch for anyone else to get it there.
So when it came to more demands from my other client...I said, "Enough."
I've done enough work for other people this weekend.

I was working on Chapter Two of a new story. I like this story. I could, eventually, LOVE this story...if I made it a priority and wrote more per day. But when I was working on Chapter Two, I still had my Yahoo Messenger open...and now I feel guilty that I didn't respond to the client.
I closed Yahoo Messenger regardless...and said, "Enough."

Tonight, I'll be speaking in a writers' workshop room, something I could cheerfully do five days a week if someone would invite me to do it.
I want to do this for MONEY, for a LIVING.
I think I CAN do it.
I think it's possible...through different channels.
But when I have a week or two, or a weekend, like this...I wonder if I'll ever get to it.
So it's time to do something radical.
It's time to ask for help.

If you are a person who runs a writing program...
If you know anybody who runs a writing program...
If you know people who have writing magazines, books, clinics, workshops, informal educational facilities, adult learning situations...
If you know of, or have connections to, ANYONE, anywhere, who's looking for a fabulous writer, editor, and teacher to come in and put the rookies through some basic training...
I give you permission. Carte blanche. With only one condition.

Do NOT pass me along to people who want me to do this for free. I can continue to do it for free online all I want to...all I've got to do is express the desire to do so at a few places, and I'll have all the free work (and all the overbooking that can happen with that!) that I can possibly want.
I'm not looking for MORE WORK.
I'm looking for someone who'll recognize that, over time, I have contributed an enormous amount to the writing trade, in quite a few people's lives, in various ways, and in various venues...

...and who'll be willing to give me some good old-fashioned honest Coin of the Realm for it.

But I'm sick of breaking my back accomplishing someone else's mission.
It's time to say, "Enough," and find the path that will once again put me in balance.

Any takers?

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