Friday, 25 June 2010

What I’ve given up becoming a writer

Alcohol. (On your own, I hear you cry.) Surely writers and wine go hand in hand? Maybe they do for some but I have to plan my indulgence, and, in the genius words of Elmer Fudd, be wery wery careful. You know what it is like, you catch up with friends, get a large glass of wine, get another as you think it saves time going to the bar (oh the hassle), and the next day the only word I can spell is ug. This would be great if I was writing a caveman epic, but I feel more is expected, somehow.

Sanity. Did I just mutter that plot point aloud? Am I in the company of strangers? Uh. Oops.

Socialising. Yes, sadly this also has to be measured. That fantastic story idea won’t write itself. There will be invites to turn down, holidays forfeited, events missed, exhibitions unseen. Friends will wonder where you have gone. Heck – even I wonder where I have gone!

Elegant fingernails. Forgetaboutit!

Sleep. I stay up far too late plotting and get up far too early so I can do some more before real-life job. Mostly I cannot sleep anyway for thinking of stories and words and plot points. I wake up at odd moments in the dark and think ah-ha! I have been known to turn on the light and scrabble for a pen and notebook. I have also been known to resemble the Grinch the next morning.

Pert butt. The odds are sadly not in our favour with this.

Eyesight. (Squints) I am surrounded by computer screens. In-between travelling from one computer screen (home) to another (work) I stare at my phone instead. The very rare occasion when I am not bathed in sickly light from a monitor I find myself eyeballing a television. I think my eyes hate me.

Time. (Glances up) Is it summer?


But this is the life we choose, my friends, and I think we'd all agree - it's worth it!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's accurate.
Ug. I like that!

Piedmont Writer said...

Fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, I've given up all those things even before I decided to write.

It's so worth it.

Old Kitty said...

Pert butt - amen to that! :-)

You are so so so good to give up the el vino!!! Maybe that's where I'm going wrong! LOL!

take care

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Jayne...pleased to meet you.
I agree with everything you have said. I have the bad habit of scribbling anywhere and everywhere, and I had to give up several things to be able to devote time to writing.

Joanne said...

Worth it and wonderful! I love, love your last one ... time. Where the heck did Spring go?

Jen said...

Very much worth it... I however have not given up that glass of wine... I like to relax and sip it slowly while writing... I'll never give it up!!

KarenG said...

Truly a list from one dedicated to making it! I gave up TV. Oh big deal.

Jayne said...

Alex - my hangovers were so bad sometimes I only got to the 'u' part of 'ug'!

Anne - that just means you are all the closer. :)

Old Kitty - well, not quite given up! More about planning the nights I allow myself to indulge - my hangovers are very unforgiving!

Rachna - thanks for coming by! I think anything that is a heart's desire involves a certain amount of sacrifice.

Joanne - I have no idea! Last time I blinked it was May bank holiday.

Jen - Moderation is the key, but I am so bad at judging my tipping over point!

KarenG - TV! Forgot that. Yes, to a certain extent I have given that one up too. I usually catch up with shows on a box-set DVD now rather than watch each week.

Gigi said...

I so, so, so identify with this list!!!! I don't drink anymore either, except on a very, very special occasion. It wasn't worth the lost writing time from headaches and grogginess. Great post, Jayne. xo

Erica Mitchell-Spickard said...

So very accurate and also very worth it. There are times however where I have to make sure it's not consuming me. Have to live life to write it ;)

Clara said...

Totally worth it!

And tell me about loosing a social life and sleep hours! *sigh*

Solvang Sherrie said...

Ha! Some of these things were never an option to begin with :)

Happy Frog and I said...

Glad to hear it is all worth it. I'd struggle with the vino. Everything in moderation, including moderation!

Maria Zannini said...

Ref: Pert butt

LOL! I was wondering where that went to.

At least now I can stop looking.

Ed Pilolla said...

awesome list. i remember as a reporter getting so caught up in stories and project wondering what season it was. produced a lot, but scary. the results of commitment tend to be good. so long as we're enjoying ourselves, i think.

Christine said...

I'm not giving up wine as I feel creative when I'm a tad tiddly. Well, that's my excuse!

Donna Hosie said...

I'm with you on the sanity and the sleep!

The Words Crafter said...

Yeah, I've been slowly cutting back/out lots of those helps that most of my friends and family have strange working hours and free time. My husband's works schedule helps, too-he's only off on Sundays, so that's a day I pick for whatever. It's hard to find regular times to write, though, when you have to work a full time job and try to go to school, the 'pert butt'

Anonymous said...

This list is so, so true. I would have to add my wrists and shoulders: they're definitely feeling the strain. But it's all worth it! :)

Amelia said...

he he. I too have given up alcohol - yes! At least for this year. Can't run a creative business and make art, and parent and drink alcohol and feel ok! I'm with you on that one . . . not sure what else I have given up - quality time with the kids - argh! A tidy house! the life of an artist eh . .


Talli Roland said...

Pert butt. Yes, pert butt.

But alcohol?! No way!

I hear you on the after-effects though.

Aubrie said...

We do give up a lot to write, but you're right: the rewards are far better.

Fran said...

The sacrifice will all be worth it when you're on that Booker stage getting your cheque.

Anonymous said...

Ha! All of the above is true for me. (I've never even had alcohol.)

The fingernails... the fingernails!!


- Corra

The Victorian Heroine

Rose said...

goodness I'm not sure I could ever give up alchohol but that is probably why I haven't yet written that novel!

Jayne said...

Gigi – I basically plan my alcohol indulgence now as I know my writing is useless with a hangover.

Erica – Yes, the balance shouldn’t tip too far over, but I think I am a bit of a hermit at heart.

Clara – At least we are all in the same boat!

Solvang – Hee! I think a lot of the above applies when folks have kids, or choose to commit to other things in their life.

Happy Frog – Moderation is key!

Maria – Flat butt is more like it for me!

Ed – Absolutely, no one is making us do this – it’s a choice. I think that is very important for people to remember. We do this for love!

Christine – Ha! Well yes. Alcohol can make prose go a bit sparkly here and there. I like that, but not when I over-indulge and the next day is a right-off – I am a terrible judge of my limit.

Donna – It is so good to know we are all in the same place with this!

Jayne said...

The Words Crafter – I think cutting out these things have really helped me. Of course it is all in moderation, but there is a certain amount of giving up that has to go on for us to get on, if you see my drift!

Sandy – Wrists and shoulders? Oh dear, more to look forward to!

Amelia – I actually can’t work if the house is majorly untidy, it seems to make my thoughts untidy too. Although I have learnt as long as the room where I write has a semblance of okay, then I can close the door on the rest!

Talli – It’s all in the planning for me – I still do big nights out, but I have to be okay with knowing that I will waste the whole next day for it. So they are few and far between!

Aubrie – Creative rewards are definitely worth it.

Fran – Hahahaha! Oh I wish!

Corra – Fingernails are chopped at every given opportunity.

Rose – The trick is moderation! So not exactly given up, just planned... carefully planned!

Mohamed Mughal said...

Thought-provoking post on a scribe's sacrifices... :)

I'm thinking you need to do a follow-up post on what we gain by being writers - - - -

Jayne said...

Thanks Mohamed! I think you are right. Stay tuned! :)