For a few days now I’ve been discussing with other Egyptology students on the University of Manchester blackboard (discussion forum). We are all eagerly waiting for the studies to start for real on 23rd September.
Some people there have commented on my writing. I’ve studied together with many of them before so they knew about my books already. Some have known about my writings (especially Mr. Mummific) even though I have not “met” them before.
One of them commented that I was living her dream life – writing and publishing books.
That little comment made me think. Of course I know I am living my dream life now – I have always wanted to be an author and an illustrator. And since 2016 I have published 11 books. (Well, one is the prequel to Nephilim Quest, so a shorter story, and not for sale. Only the people who sign up for my mailing list get it.) I write every day. And even now there are 5 books in the works.
Yet I had in a way lost sight of the joy that writing brings – so many things of my “other life” are in my mind that writing has become another routine among others. Pleasant, yes, as it is the thing I love most, but still a routine. Something I need to plan carefully in my planner to make sure I find the time to write, work, study, and have other life as well. When I need to find and plan 15-minute time slots in my calendar and be careful to stick to them, there is a sense of urgency about writing. If I can’t use the minutes for writing, the stories aren’t born.
I suppose writing novels is a bit like getting married – first there’s the infatuation. A new story idea. Then you commit to it and it is like the honeymoon. You get to know your story, write it down for the first time. Then the more mundane work: editing and polishing to make the story as good as you think it can be. Then all the loops of the publishing process - giving birth to the book. And one day you hold the book in your hands - or look at it on your pad.
Dreams have come true. You have published a book! And then, novel after novel, writing becomes a part of everyday life. The excitement isn’t as great. You appear by the computer, and start writing. Repeat until story is ready. Edit. Proofread. Cover. Formatting. Publishing. Rinse and repeat.
But just like in a good marriage routine isn’t a bad thing. It is a part of good ordinary life. You get comfy and cozy with the routine, it helps you to grow roots and feel at home in your work.
You greet your story on the screen (or notebook, if you write by hand) with affection, you enjoy what your imagination brings out, and you realize some things need to be changed to make the story good.
And in all this you learn things about yourself. After all anything you write is a reflection of who you are. At its best writing is like good therapy, helping the writer to go through their own inner self. Maybe handle some difficult issues, and also remind of the good things in life.
So to me writing is my dream job, but perhaps not in the same way that this other student meant. Maybe she had in her mind the illusion of what it is to be a writer. Pure creativity, living above the mundane issues of life. Appreciated by all. Earning lots of money from the books. LOL - reality is something else. But I know what this dream is like. I had it myself for so many years.
Still, writing is a great passion of mine. Maybe one beautiful day I can do it in the middle of the day instead evenings and weekends (= make a decent living with my writing so I don’t need a day job anymore). Oh, to imagine that! To have the time to do the necessary research when ever I want to. To write in the mornings when the energies are higher. And plan time for doing absolutely nothing as well! Real, true, free time!
All righty – best get back to writing my novels, then, to make that dream a reality.