on trying to be a pro

The snow stopped, so our lake effect storm was a brief one (compared to last February). We wound up with almost four feet, but the driveway is plowed, the streets are plowed, we were able to get out yesterday afternoon. Oh, and school is open today.

In Fulton, NY, (a few towns over) the roof on the Department of Public Works garage collapsed under the weight of the snow. CNN is covering it. Sure would be nice if CNN would come back up here for the apple harvest, or the perfect summer nights when we can see the Milky Way from our back yard.

An interesting question about being a professional writer turned up in the comments section a few days ago.

wrote: I love how you write about the writing process in your journal. I’ve only found this journal a little while ago, but I’m been following the entries, and as a writer, it’s really something I can relate to. Writing is so unpredictable and since I’m still just a young wannabe (I’d like to think I’m a writer, even if not a professional one), I can’t even believe how professional writers can put writing’s unpredictableness aside and meet their deadlines! Care to enlighten me?

By “unpredictableness” I assume you mean that we rarely feel totally inspired every single day. I sure as heck don’t. But I have to write every day. First and foremost because I like it and it is good for me. Second, because by staying in touch with the story every day, the writing flows better. Third (though this one is pretty important, too), the writing pays my bills.

Any career in the arts has a simple truth attached to it: you have to do the work every day. That is how you get better.

It doesn’t matter how many books I’ve published. I have never before written the book I am writing now. I have to respect the work and keep striving to learn more, keep searching for new tools for my work chest. If you are standing on the outside looking in, it might seem a little boring, and I admit, there are days when I long for a job that has a guaranteed paycheck every two weeks and some kind of health insurance, but the truth is, I feel incredibly blessed to be able to write stories that people want to read. That is extremely motivating.

2008 Resolution Tracker
Week 3 – Miles Run: 21.75, YTD: 62.75
Week 3 – Days Written: 7, YTD:21

Only 49 weeks to go!

8 Replies to “on trying to be a pro”

  1. You get to look up at the universe!
    (and anytime you want to!)
    Oh how I envy you.

    That’s like the ONLY reason I would ever move out to the country (I don’t like living anyplace where there are no streetlights- or a bookstore isn’t at least five blocks away)

  2. I affirm the “Any career in the arts . . ” part in relation to the piano. My fingers fly if I play every day.

    Vladimir Horowitz was quoted as saying something like, “If I don’t practice one day, I can tell the difference. If I don’t practice for two days, my wife can tell the difference. If I don’t practice for three days, the public can tell the difference.” (Maybe I shouldn’t put quotes on that because I am using it from memory.)

  3. I assume you mean that we rarely feel totally inspired every single day. I sure as heck don’t. But I have to write every day.

    Thank you, that was exactly what someone needed to say to me (you didn’t actually say that to me, but anyways). I’ve been putting off doing art coursework for school for ages now … but I do have to do it. So I will. Thank you 🙂

  4. Thanks!

    Thanks for answering my question! I <3 it when authors take the time to answer questions from their fans. Yes, that's exactly what I meant by "unpredictable"; although I'm not saying every artist wants to practice every day, writing seems to come slower than other arts, since you never know when inspiration will hit. It's also strange, because you can struggle for days upon days struggling on a scene, and then one day, you just have it (that's another thing I meant; it's very difficult to force writing and inspiration). I'm sure other artists could argue the same is true for their art, too. Well, thanks again and thanks especially for giving me a good excuse to write even when I'm not inspired! :D

  5. AHHH I agree with this! I’m a freshman art major in college. My first semester I took two studio classes (swamped with work-think 18X24 drawing assigned Mon due Wed X two classes!) ANY creative work is WORK. What keeps me going are the “good” days where I look up at the clock and realize 4 hours have passed and I hadnt noticed, I was so “in the zone” But I dont appreciate the “dumb projects” they assign in college (they dont let us use color yet?!) This person would probably like you to write that writing process book, too *nudge nudge!* : )

    So, obviously, I applaud your writing daily, and your RUNNING! Great job, I met my two hours a day/six days a week walking quota this week, but school starts up tomorrow…I need balance!!!!! Where do you buy that?! : )

    1. No color? They don’t let you use COLOR yet?

      That’s like telling a student of writing not to use verbs until they really get the hang of those pesky nouns.


      1. My moms an art teacher, and I called her in hysterics “Mom, your kindergarteners use color!”
        The professors announced, “We’re going to use black and white for awhile”. And, weeks later, “Now we will explore the spectrum of grays” “OOOOooooOOOhhhhh mysterious!” *class in fake awe*

        Perhaps I picked the wrong school : (

Comments are closed.