Everything Else is Extra

This month I officially started working 60 hours a week and do you know what’s more motivating than having a job you hate? Having two jobs you hate. I’m being a little over-dramatic. The truth is I don’t hate my jobs. I’m grateful that I’m finally making enough money to not just survive but…oh I don’t know, maybe see a movie or buy an ice cream or something. The truth is that the stress of working so many hours is much more endurable than the stress of not being able to pay my bills. So I don’t hate working, I just hate not writing.

It’s only been a week into my new schedule and already I’m fighting off that negative self-talk and all of the terrifying “what ifs” that seem to plague me every time I’m not living up to my full potential as an artist. I’ve let feelings like this cripple me in the past, the doubt so intense that I just stopped writing altogether.  But I’ve made a promise to myself that I’m not going to let that happen this time. Because I’m not going to feel guilty about working or about wanting peace of mind. And more importantly I’m not going to buy into the falsehood that only writing in my free time means that I’m not a “real” writer.

I’m not ashamed to say that I don’t make enough money from book sales to write full time and I’m not ashamed of the fact that the jobs that do pay my bills are ones that don’t fulfill me in any way other than financially. What I do is not who I am, and that doesn’t just go for my day job but it applies to my writing as well. I write. I am a writer. But at my core, in my essence, I’m not defined by any of these things. What does define me? The effort I put in to my work, especially when I don’t feel like doing my best or when no one’s watching. The way I treat people and the way I treat myself. Things that measure something even more important than success but that measure my ability to be human. I want to be good at that because everything else is extra. The money and the success and the recognition, none of that is guaranteed, and yet I always overwhelm myself with this pressure to achieve it and end up feeling like a failure even though I’m anything but.

Writing is what I love and it is absolutely what I want to do but how much I write, how well I write, and any success that may come of it is not what will define me. I will define me, in ways big and small, tangible and intangible, not based on what I received in this life but on how much I was willing to give.

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3 thoughts on “Everything Else is Extra

  1. Michelle Delgado says:

    I always love stopping by your blog – you voice so much determination and dedication, and that will undoubtedly carry you through the short term setbacks needed to finance your endgoal. As impolite as talking about money supposedly is, those of us who intend to jump into creative work really, really need to know how others make this work. Thanks so much for your courage in sharing how you’re doing this, and good luck!

    • Thank you!!!! What a huge compliment! I used to be wary of sharing too much when it came to how much money I was making self-publishing and just labeling my “success” in that way but now I’m grateful for the opportunity to be honest about my journey. When I first started self-publishing I couldn’t find anyone out there who was advertising or divulging anything specific about their journey and/or the failures they experienced along the way and because of that I had all of these unrealistic expectations about what success was supposed to look and, more importantly, feel like. Now I realize that everyone’s journey is different and even if I’m not selling a thousand copies a day, I can still have a fulfilling career as a writer and reach a lot of people.

  2. Reblogged this on laekanzeakemp and commented:

    *To celebrate my two-year blogging anniversary, I’ll be re-blogging some of my favorite posts from 2014 throughout the month of December*

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