There's no end
to the things you might know, depending how far beyond Zebra you go! {Dr. Seuss}

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Risks of Writing

Hubby: “Bye, baby. See you later tonight.” (Kisses.)
Me: “You remember what I say every time, right?”
Hubby: “Yea, I’ll return to you whole.”
Me:Completely whole. And alive.”
Hubby: “Right, I will. I love you.” (More kisses.)
Me: “Wait. You know that’s not all.”
Hubby shifts from one foot to another and glances at the clock. He’s impatient. Not that I have any idea what it’s like for him be impatient with me.
Hubby: “All right, what?”
Me: “You return to me completely whole and alive with not even a fingernail missing. Got it?”
Hubby tries hard not to roll his eyes. He’s hardly successful.
Hubby: “Yes, fine, all my nails and hairs and skin particles will be intact.” (Mockery is unwelcome. But even more kisses make it okay.)
The above conversation occurs every time my husband has a track day. Hubby rides a motorcycle. He has two: one for the road and one for track days. (And yet the other day when I said it’d be beneficial for my career to have a desktop computer in addition to my laptop, he thought I was being silly. Can you believe that? Now how the heck is that fair?) Track days are organized events giving motorcyclists the opportunity to race around a track at risky speeds unacceptable on main roads. 
Even though hubby is an experienced rider, wears proper motorcycle gear–helmet, full body suit, boots, gloves–and follows the safety regulations on the road and track days, he has crashed twice (minor crashes; only injuries were scuffed gear and bruised ego). But he risks it because he loves the rushing speed, the open air, the freedom. He rides motorcycles for two simple reasons: it’s fun and he loves it.
It makes me realize how everything we do in life is a risk, even those things we consider fun. You don’t know how things will turn out no matter how prepared you are. This goes for writing, too. Writing isn’t physically risky (or fatally, as far as I know!) like motorcycling, but it’s still mentally and emotionally challenging. Every time we write something, we risk harsh criticism, rejection, and being misunderstood. There’s also the risk of getting everything you want: a byline, bestseller, critical acclaim. Some writers suffer years of writer’s block after achieving unexpected success with their first novel. Writers sacrifice family time and sleep to meet deadlines. Writers risk being in tight financial situations. But no matter the risks or sacrifices, we continue to write because 1.) we’re slightly mad, and 2.) without it, who would we be?
We risk our sanity for two simple reasons: writing is fun and we love it. 

“Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite: ‘Fool!’ said my muse to me, ‘look in thy heart, and write.’” ~Sir Philip Sidney

“I'm one card short of a full deck 
I'm not quite the shilling 
One wave short of a shipwreck 
I'm not at my usual top billing 
I'm coming down with a fever 
I'm really out to sea 
This kettle is boiling over 
I think I'm a banana tree 
Oh dear, I'm going slightly mad
I'm going slightly mad 
It finally happened, happened...”
~Queen, I'm Going Slightly Mad
Share with me!
How is writing a risk for you? Have you had to make sacrifices for your writing?  Though writing is fun, does it make you feel slightly mad? Do you think it’s silly to have a desktop computer and a laptop?


Bluestocking said...

Having a desktop and a laptop is not silly. But you can get by with just a monitor and a wireless mouse/keyboard set up on a good desk cordoned off from the rest of the world. Which is what I do.

And yes, writing is risky, but sometimes the risks themselves can be invigorating much like the wind in your hair, full of energy and possibilities, the thrill of being alive, on the precipice of something terrible yet wonderful.

Saumya said...

Writing was a risk for me because I was committed to becoming a doctor and took a hiatus from that to write. Everyone thought it was impractical, but people rarely realize that writing is life. We, as writers, are trying to emulate life! It's wonderful that you and your hubby have your own special risks. :)

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I consider writing risky because I have to put myself ‘out there’ which is never easy for an introvert. Though overall I enjoy writing, there are moments when I wonder why I do it. No, I don’t think it's crazy to want both types of computers.

Hope your husband returns home in one piece.

T. Anne said...

My writing feels like a HUGE risk lately. Having an excerpt of one of my old WIPs up on Amazon (ABANA contest) has proven a bit more difficult than I thought. It really shows how vulnerable we can be.

Creepy Query Girl said...

writing is a risk for me because my husband gets really annoyed that I'm on my laptop (which is essential btw) ALL THE TIME! whether I'm adding to my wip, editing my first novel, or critiquing for my critics group, or now, BLOGGING, it takes a lot of time away from hubby and the kids even though I try my best to multitask. When I see how much time I spend on it, yes, I feel a little sick in the head. BUT its fun and I love it:)

B. Miller said...

When I got laid off a year and a half ago from my cushy corporate America job I decided to get a part time job making NO money and work on my writing career. So every day is a risk for me... but it's worth it!!

Laura Marcella said...

Bluestocking- Very true!

Saumya- Wow, that's awesome you were in medical school! Good for you for trying something else no matter what everyone said.

Jane- Thank you! I'm telling hubby everyone agrees it's only fair I should have 2 computers since he has two motorcycles, haha! He just called and is on his way home all in one piece. :) It's hard for me, too, to put myself out there.

T.Anne- They say to do something every day that scares you, right? I think writing counts!

Query Girl- I don't have any kids, but I can imagine how hard that would be. I feel the same way when hubby wants to spend time together, and I want to, but I really want to finish writing a scene or a chapter first too. It's hard sometimes!

B- Wow, that really is a risk! Good for you, though. It seems to be working out well for you!

Alyson said...

I want a desktop and a new laptop, too! It would help so much. Then again, I thought having an iPod would motivate to work out. Ha!

I've been trying to sacrifice some of my sleep, but I keep falling asleep over my notebook. I hope this doesn't mean my book is boring. :D

Jen said...

I love the conversation you have with your hubby it shows you care and shows your love for him which is so sweet!!!

I think writing is risky because you are sharing your thoughts and ideas with the world hoping they love it as much as you do, it's both a terrifying and exhiliarting feeling isn't it?! One I truly enjoy!

Laura Marcella said...

Alyson- Haha! I guess having two computers (well, 3 if I count hubby's) might just be another procrastination tool? Hmmm. Nah!!! It's totally necessary. I don't think your book is boring; your body is trying to tell you to get some rest so you can continue to write brilliantly!

Jen- Haha, yea, we're kind of mushy gushy! And I agree that writing and putting ourselves out there is both scary and exciting. That's what taking risks is all about!

sylviadickeysmithbooks said...

Love the Luck cartoon! She's a gal after my own heart!

Laura Marcella said...

Sylvia- Thanks, me too! When I found this cartoon, I came across the book Snoopy's Guide to the Writing Life. I must get that!

Tahereh said...

this was SUCH a cute post! and i don't think it's silly to have a desktop + laptop at all :D hehe

i happen to have both!

but um, just to be fair. i pretty much never use the desktop. sooo.. ur hubs might be right (donthateme!).


and i totally agree. writing is always a risk. you took the words right out of my mouth.

great, great post.

good luck with everything, bestie!!

JHara said...

Sir Philip Sidney! That's one of my favorite quotes...I think its from a poem? I can't remember, but I had it as an away message in college whenever I'd go to write something.

Oh and although hubby is not always right (Cowgirls) he is right about the two computers ;-)

Laura Marcella said...

Tahereh- I could never hate you! But I would use both computers. I would, I would, I really really would!!! (Now to only convince hubby of that...)

JHara- I can't believe you took his side. I would ALWAYS choose your side over your girlfriend's side! Ok, that's probably a lie.

Theo Blanton said...

Laura- My latest blog entry is in written in your honnor, my dear.

Laura Marcella said...

Thank you, Theo!