Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What are you willing to give up?

I find myself at yet another cross-roads in this "journey" towards becoming an author, and one question I've been asking lately is what am I willing to give up?

This is in part because, up to this point, I haven't had to give up a whole lot (other than my pride). Yes, I've worked very hard. Yes, I've spent way too much money on courses, and conferences and books... But I had the time and money so it wasn't a huge sacrifice. Not in hindsight, anyway.

I watch my good friends give up time with kids and husbands, I watch them squeeze writing time into lunch hours at work, I watch them sacrifice bits of their social lives, or, gasp, TV -- and I think: boy, I'm not sure I want it that badly.

But now, I've reached a point where I have to make some hard choices. And it's actually turned out to be a good thing.

To explain, or put this in context, here's a transcript of some drunk writer talk from about a year ago, when I was shedding blood to produce the first draft of the manuscript that's on submission right now...

Maureen: Boy, if this one doesn't sell, I think I might be done. I just don't know what other direction I can take. I don't know if I have another one of these in me without getting a contract.

Molly and Sinead: Shut up and drink your beer. You won't quit. You love it too much.

Maureen: Do I? I mean, sure, I always had vague dreams of being a writer, but in many ways I kind of fell into this. If I hadn't been lucky enough to meet you two I doubt I would've finished my first book.

Molly: Have a french fry. And another beer.

Sinead: You won't quit. You say you will, but you won't.

Yes, DWT is full of gripping conversations like this one. Jealous? ;-)

But looking back at my angst, I'm seeing the silver lining in the hard decisions I'm facing about my lifestyle right now. Said silver lining is that I've realized Molly and Sinead were right. (They're always right--almost always, except about movies sometimes--but I'm a little slow so it takes a while for me to believe them.)

Yes, it's true. In order to become an author, I'm willing to give up more than just my pride. :-)

Maybe even TV. No, not TV. Get serious.


Anya Delvay said...

I'm so glad you posted this, Maureen, because I suddenly feel a heck of a lot better knowing I'm not the only one suffering with this question!

Sleep? Maybe we can give up sleep??? :)

Amy Ruttan said...

Hugs Maureen.

I gave up TV and crafts. Oh and when I was at the EDJ I gave up my lunch hours with my co-workers. I would go from work computer to my computer.

I don't know if I could give up time with my kids. Especially since they're only young once. So I work when they are at school, or at night when they are in bed.

So I guess I'm giving up on sleep too.

It's hard, but I have to agree with Molly and Sinead ... Be quiet and have another fry.

You're too talented and too into this to give it up. Don't make me come and beat you up, cause I will.

Maureen McGowan said...

es, I shouldn't have implied that Molly or Sinead give up kid time. More like sleep time. Or taking a break when they're napping time.

And I am glad to discover I want this more than I thought I did.

Plus, no way would I risk Amy coming over to beat me up.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Maureen, how I relate!

Amy Ruttan said...

That's right. Be afraid of gelatinous hormone surged pregnant lady. :)

Keep writing. *whip crack*

Oh and I didn't figure it was Molly or Sinead. I know there are authors that do, remember Margaret's comment about how she heard some other authors say "My child better be bleeding to disturb me."

That's not worth it.

Kimber Chin said...

You ARE too talented to give up, Maureen! And do you really want to live your life wondering 'what if?'

I sure don't.

I gave up an executive career path but I didn't really want that anyway. I gave up a clean house. Again something I don't care about. I HAVE given up tv though and from the discussions here, I do wonder what I've missed in doing that.

Sinead M said...

I can only give up some TV.... so I'm not as dedicated as I could be...

And the best of TV and movies gives me inspiration, so as a writer, I need it..

Can't give up time with the kids. They won't sit around quietly and let me write...

Maureen McGowan said...

I need to give up bad TV. But Sinead's right. Some of the best storytelling these days is happening on TV.

I feel better about refusing to give that up.

But I might give up my house... That's the biggie.

Maureen McGowan said...

Oh, that sounded like I'm declaring bankruptcy or the bank's foreclosing or something.


Just thinking I need to get real and downsize if I want to be a starving artist dreaming of the big time. If the big time finds me? I can upsize, again. :-)

Molly O'Keefe said...

Ther are TRANSCRIPTS??? Someone is taking notes? oh. no.

I'm sorry - give up television? I need television. Although without the wire and battlestar - not sure what else there is right now.

Let's see -- I've given up basic hygeine. A clean house. laundry. Any other hobby or interest I might have including putting together photo albums or baby books - which I sort of feel bad about. I;ve given up mommy groups - but I wasn't in love with those.
Mostly I've given up my sanity.

Kwana said...

I don't think I can give up tv. Love it too much and it inspires me. I actually write a lot with the tv on. I know it's crazy but when I write- I write. What I need to give up is fear and procrastination. I can procrastinate the hell out of not writing a book because I think I'm scared it will be crap and not sell. Well, of course it won't sell if you don't write it but at least you won't get the rejections, right? So I guess I'm willing to give up procrastination. Maybe Tomorrow. LOL.

Marilyn Brant said...

This was another wonderful post, Maureen, and thanks for linking the Moonrat one, too...and, yes, you belong here. Do whatever it takes to stay :).

I gave up sleep about 8 years ago, which health professionals tend to say is a "bad thing" but--really--I wasn't going to give up "American Idol." Or "Supernatural." No, no, no.

Reading the transcript of that conversation, I totally want crash one of your DWT parties. Will you, Molly and Sinead let me? First round's on me :-).

Maureen McGowan said...

Just come on up to Toronto, Marilyn! It's not that far. Honest. Molly drives the other direction to visit her parents (from your neck of the woods) all the time. :-)

Kimber Chin said...


I would LOVE to downsize. Seriously. We have rooms we never go in. A total waste. Think of all the time savings and the reduction of guilt.

But the hubby would like a bigger house (he dreams of having to drive a golfcart to get around the basement). Why? I don't know.

So downsizing is out of the question right now.

But I will certainly envy you if you do decide to downsize.

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