Combating the Aspiring Writer Blues

IMG_4953My husband had his annual review yesterday. He’s a programmer. His company gives him a paycheck every two weeks. They do evaluations regularly. They say nice things, and then they give raises and bonuses.

I’m always happy for him when these things happen—especially because they generally benefit the whole family—but I’m also a little envious. I think I would like to be paid on a regular basis. To be told I’m doing a good job. To be courted and valued and rewarded for my work.

That’s not my reality.

I split my days between three jobs. I’m a mom and homemaker. I run an Etsy shop. I write. I love my life, but as a still-aspiring-writer, it’s sometimes a struggle to remind myself of the intrinsic rewards of the path I’ve chosen, because the extrinsic rewards are few and far between.

I know I’m not the only one contemplating the grass on this particular side of the fence, so here are some things worth remembering when you’re feeling lonely in the trenches.

  1. When you work for yourself, you get to control your time. I keep to a pretty regular schedule. For most of the year, my day is defined by the school schedule. In the summer, I still have to schedule myself to fit everything in. For the most part, though, when you don’t have a 9-5 job, your time is your time and you decide how to spend it. It’s a big deal to not have to clock in and out each day or schedule vacation time with a boss. Appreciate it.
  2. No one can stop you from giving yourself a bonus. It’s not the same. Believe me, I know it’s not. Unlike an outside boss, you can’t give yourself anything above and beyond what you’ve already earned. You simply don’t have it to give. Still, you can and should treat yourself. Offer yourself a reward for reaching a goal and stick to it. Personally, I like to bribe myself with shoes, but clothes are good too. Also  chocolate. I don’t bribe myself with books. Are you crazy? Those are necessities.
  3. You’re doing what you love. I confess, sometimes this argument doesn’t hold a lot of water with me, because my husband is doing what he loves too, only he gets a hefty paycheck for it. It is what it is, though, and it’s worth reminding yourself, because not everyone gets a choice.
  4. Someday this will be worth it. Your book won’t be unpublished forever. Eventually there will be showers of cupcakes and big fat checks and fans clamoring for your autograph. What? That’s not the case? LALALALALALALALALALALALA. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Tell me, how do you stay motivated, all by your lonesome?

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