For a moment I forgot that I am a writer and that writing is, in a sense, work as well.
Each day I find time to write in between working busy shifts and I thoroughly enjoy to do so. Whether it is at five o’clock in the morning before I start work. It might be at half past one in the day time when I am on my break from work. Or occasionally I write in the evenings if I have chosen not to have a glass of wine. This is very occasional.
It’s therapy. It’s freedom. It’s time to myself. It’s development. It is all of those things but it is also jolly hard work.
A novel contains a huge amount of words and those words take a lot of time to edit. Getting them down in the first place is a job well done but that is also only the beginning. I didn’t realise myself how many times I would go over my manuscript before it went to print. I certainly didn’t realise how many other eyes would read and scrutinise it as well. It is a big task.
In fact, it wasn’t until the other day when I was driving with a friend on the way to a coastal retreat for the weekend in order to get more work done when I noticed that I have forgotten to consider writing as hard work for a while.
I have neglected to notice that it makes me tired. I have failed to count it as my working hours. I have disregarded the time and effort needed to make my work as good as it can be.
We were working out rotas and my friend said how she fully realises that my breaks are not always breaks and I use that time ‘off’ to write. I returned from the coast and felt worryingly tired considering I’d spent the weekend away at my happy place, a place of relaxation and recharge. Then another friend pointed out that I had in fact been WORKING and that reading and editing is tiring.
Suddenly I felt something needs to change. I’ll never stop loving writing and I’ll always see it as a fun, enjoyable, soul strengthening thing to do but I need to start seeing it as work and to stop beating my twenty-four-year-old self up for being too tired for a youngster because a writer is a job title.
Creative work is work. Reading and editing makes you tired. Painting, drawing, sketching, whatever it is your talent is in, it is still worthy to be called work. People buy it for a reason. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Hear it from me.