When I first thought about the writing lifestyle, I pictured myself in a mountain cabin with a wood fire, a cozy blanket, some hot tea, a kitten curled on the rug, notes scattered around, and my computer clicking away as golden words spread across the screen. In essence, I dreamed of a quiet retreat from the world where I could indulge my creative side.
Then reality set in.
In order to afford my cozy cabin (i.e. little house in the burbs)I needed a real job. There's no fireplace, but sometimes I get to curl up in my recliner with a cozy blanket and a cup of tea. The notes scattered around sometimes take over the room and don't always sound golden when I see them on the screen.
The kitten is a different matter. Mr. Pwyll, my wife's cat, was fully grown when we met. He wasn't the curling up kind of kitty, but did make the perfect writer's cat in one way. When he spread that long blue-gray body of his across the floor his tail curled into a big question mark. He seemed to always be asking us "what comes next." He died after being Sarah's "little boy in a cat suit" for more than eighteen years. His ashes still sit beside his favorite toy on the shelf above her computer. Since years of living with Mr. Pwyll proved me allergic to cats, he will likely be our last kitty. I do occasionally need air in my lungs.
The biggest conflict with my dream of writing is the reality that I cannot have that quiet retreat from the outside world. My creative side must be indulged in the moments when I am not working at my day job, promoting my book, rushing through the chores, and trying very hard to hold everything together for just one more day.
Do I feel cheated?
I am a published author. Someday I would like to give up the day job and devote all my time to my second career. It would also be nice to have a quiet retreat now and then in a mountain cabin. Having other things to work for keeps me working away to achieve those goals. Overall, I have no complaints. For the most part, I am living my dream.
If on occasion, you hear me say "traveling is expensive and tiring", don't believe for a second I want to give it up. Those promotional events we writers do require as much creative energy as the writing. Throwing my talents into promotion brings out skills I didn't know I hand. Meeting and talking to readers and other writers is wonderful. The readers who take the time to come to an event, drop me an email to say they loved my book, or post a review make it all worthwhile.
Dreams are wonderful possessions to hold, to build upon, and bring to life. I hope you are living yours.