Because I have ADD and because I would always rather be sitting on my couch sipping bourbon and reading a mystery story (although I’ve recently given up bourbon due to an unfortunate experience involving one glass too many and a very pathetic Indy Clause the next morning), I always question my own work ethic.
I wish I got up every morning, made coffee, wrote for three hours, had a break for a run/nap/food/walk in the park, wrote for four more hours, had a martini, watched DP cook me dinner. But this is not how it works. I’m lucky if I write a sentence every day. Hell, I’m lucky if I delete a sentence every day.
I think about Townes Van Zandt. He left his wife to go on the road and devote himself to his art. He was a drunk, and possibly an asshole [and easy on the eyes, as the link will show], but boy he could write music. I have no desire to leave DP and go onto the road for the long term to devote myself to my art. (Although two weeks is fair game.)
But then I think about less dramatic sacrifices that one can make to devote oneself to art. I think about Teri’s post (and this is a quote of a quote):
“To succeed I have to do a lot of different things. I need to be stronger mentally. I have to prepare harder and smarter. I have to maximize my equipment. I have to do things other guys don’t.”
Preparing smarter. This is not leaving your wife and kids to sing in honky tonks around Texas. This is about finding a way to make this writing shit work in your life.
It’s also about finding people who support you. I have friends who will let me rattle on about obscure scientists just because they love me. And they don’t just have to be writers. But sometimes they are.
I think about Lesley Wheeler. She has tenure, books, kids, and a husband. She writes great poems, and she’s so nice and still darkly funny you can’t even hate her. Not even a little bit. She writes about being married to a writer, and how they support each other and push each other to write more and harder.
I’m married to a writer. He hates my book because it makes me sad. But if I ask him a question about plot, pacing, phrasing, or anything about the mechanics of writing, he’ll tell me how it is. And sometimes he’s even right. Sometimes.
Where do you find your work ethic?