GUT CLUTCHING TIME
Here’s the thing:
I have always been a writer. Poems about my family, stories about my friends. Commentary on every nit-picking thing. I have studied writing, read a ton of books about writing, met authors, worked prompts, wadded up reams and reams of paper.
Yes, I have always written. However, writing has always been my personal retreat, my head clearing, soul searching, psychoanalytical practice. I have even been published a couple-three times – letters to the Denver Post editor, church and business newsletters, an article in the local HUB about services for elderly veterans, a charitable anthology about fear, an article in an e-magazine about peonies. I have copies of all these things. I even won a poetry contest in the ninth grade at Drake Junior High – Drake Dragons Rule! My poem was about laughter. “…what is remembered long before and long after? Why, my friends, it is always the laughter.” I do not have a copy of that, but I do remember the excitement of winning.
I have written diaries, thrown the angriest and most frightful away. For a period, when I was a young mother, extremely stressed about getting a divorce from a mean, slapping drunk, and wondering how the hell I would survive, and how to ensure my daughter was safe, warm, and fed, when I had no idea how to work, or feed myself, I wrote furiously, filling every white space I could find – envelopes, match books, napkins, book margins. Obsessed. I read once about a woman who had a similar frenetic writing syndrome. She went through therapy, was given medication, and lost her inclination and ability to write. I did not want to do that, so when I went to therapy, I spoke only about the things I was willing to give up. Writing was not one of them.
So, I write. So do many. The thing is, I have never, until now, made the choice and decision to depend on my writing for income. I decided in February, after retiring from making mortgage loans after forty-two years, I would write stories for fun and profit. I collected all the books, and notes from classes, and lists of procedures about organizing, and simplifying, and becoming a published, no, not just published, a PAID writer. I was aided and inspired in this decision by reading an interview with a well known author who said with the money she made on her first novel, she purchased a ranch, with several hundred acres, where she has lived and worked for two decades. She did that in her twenties, smart girl. I want to do that. I never want to live in a corporate environment ever again. Ever.
So this morning, when I awoke on this first Monday of March, 2019, knowing full well that I must initiate my writing “career,” with no more excuses, I felt that clutch in my gut I used to get when I was a commissioned loan officer, wondering whether or not enough loans would close this month to pay me next month. That clutch in my gut when I had to not only focus on the loans submitted and waiting to close, but I had to get out and generate new business, new loans, make new contacts, fill my pipeline for the future. The loans always closed; new loans were found; the pipeline was always full as long as I worked at it.
I know I am on the right track – or should I say the write track. If this were not a serious decision, if I were just playing with the idea, I would not have felt that clutch. I would not consider it serious enough to panic about how, what, when, and where the ideas will arrive along with the income they will produce. But this is it. I am all in. Panic is good motivation, as is hunger, and keeping a roof over your head- coin in your pocket.
God, save my soul, and guide my mind and hands to write what people want to pay to read. May my writing bring joy and satisfaction to my readers, my family, and me, and may it make a positive difference in the lives of those who choose to read me. Let only good come from this endeavor. And please let the clutch be minimal. Amen.