Is there really a perfect job?

Lately this question has plagued me.  I’ve always worked since I was sixteen and I have a super, over-achiever work ethic.  Even through two babies and their resulting maternity leaves I have never wished to be a stay-at-home mom.  But how do you find the perfect job?  Mine is nothing I have said “I want to do {that} when I grow up”.  Because have you ever heard a child say ‘Mommy, when I grow up I want to sit on my ass in a row of cubicles, surrounded by other worker bees who are a constant form of irritation in one way or another, basically typing all day – for forty hours a week’?  No, me neither.

Which is why I’m writing a book.  So I can be my own boss and make my own hours and be the one who financially benefits as a direct result of all my hard work and labor and have a glorious life away from this crappy nine-to-five world.  Only now I’m seeing, through my fellow writing buddy and her publishing deal, exactly how much work will be required once I finish and sell a manuscript.  None of it sounds too fun or exciting – it sounds like, well, work.  And that’s only IF I finish and sell a manuscript, the hardest part of the whole process being breaking into the publishing world.  (My first novel I’ve been at for so many years it’s almost embarrassing.  Yes, yes, I know I’ve learned the craft of writing in that time so it isn’t like wasted time.  But still, we are talking years!)  Plus I’m not naive enough to think that selling one book to a publisher will mean I can pack up everything and buy a remote cabin in the Montana mountains where I can go and live and write in bliss.  It will remain work, and almost harder work once I’ve “made it”.  Then comes deadlines for new books and book tours and all the other stuff that comes with being a successful author.  I’ll just be trading one kind of hard work for another and not really setting myself free.

So how do you pick the right job that will take you through to retirement with your wits still about you and not so burned out that you can still enjoy life?  And what part of your life right now, in the present, do you have to sacrifice to get to that pie-in-the-sky end result?  Unfortunately I don’t have any of these answers.  Could it be that the uncertainty awaiting me in the life of an author is the real reason I haven’t done much on my manuscript the last month?  Forget the two vacations and running Ragnar I’ve been up to lately, what if THIS is the real reason I’m dragging my feet and filling my evenings with things that are not writing?  I mean, the outline is basically done – even detailed for most of the book – with the ending all summed up with room for my characters to form their own path to the finish as they flesh themselves out.  The perfect balance for me, the discovery writer who needs a little direction to keep her characters reined in.

Bottom line, I’m not going to know if the life of an author is right for me until I become one who has finished a manuscript and done all the hard work – just like I didn’t know what I really wanted to do when I grew up before spending fifteen years getting to where I am in the working world I am currently in.  Being a writer is the one thing I’m doing now that I remember saying I wanted to do way back then.  That’s got to mean something, right?

I guess the real reason I’m dragging my feet with getting started – again – on the novel, now that I’ve turned my reflection glass all the way to internal and taken a good hard look, is that I know it’s going to be like having two jobs.  Which means it will be hard and there won’t be much sleep involved.  Picture it: work forty hours a week away from home so we can keep paying the bills; feel like a single mom at night with hubby working a ton of late hours while juggling Big Sister’s dance schedule and spending enough quality time with Baby Sister that she likes me more than the nanny; be on-call for the day job for twenty additional hours of nights and weekends; write every day for several hours to keep the momentum up and finish the first draft this year; oh, and don’t forget to run and stay in shape so I stay sane through it all.  I guess my love affair with coffee will be good and the one with my bed not so for a while.  In a way it feels like the dread and anticipation I feel when approaching a race day.  You wonder if you’ve trained enough yet are excited to see how it all goes.  I need to put on my big girl panties and suck it up if I expect to get to the end, no matter what race I’m entered in.

If I’m being honest, and when have you known me not to be, I feel like I’m standing at the edge of my future afraid to take the next step in case I fail.  Remember the scene in the Indiana Jones movie when they are after the Holy Grail and Indy has to take a leap of faith not knowing what will happen?  That’s how I feel – standing at the edge of a cliff where I have to stop talking about how amazing it’s going to be when I get to the other side and find what I really want in life waiting for me.  (In other words, start writing this novel again and this time finish the damn thing!)  I may not know exactly how it will look but until I get there to see it I’ll never know!  So here’s to officially embarking on the journey from writer to author, may it not kill me…

About terraluft

Writer; wife, mother, survivor, and impulsive bitch rarely capable of saying no. Fueled by coffee, yoga and sarcasm. (She/Her) View all posts by terraluft

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