It’s Victoria Day in Canada and National Patriots’ Day (Journée nationale des patriotes) in Quebec. For me who doesn’t have a full time job, it’s like every other day. And like every other morning I am at my desk trying to write something, anything. But like most mornings lately my censor has kicked in and I just sit at my desk with my notebook open and stare at it.
What’s the use I tell myself. What’s the use of writing when I haven’t made any money from it so far? Isn’t that important too? Wouldn’t it be better if I went back to teaching full time? But then I read the following quote:
“The longer I work in publishing, the more I realize how few writers- there are really only a handful- earn any kind of living off of their writing. If you want to write, do it for other reasons. The modesty of self-fulfillment and the quiet feeling of accomplishment.” Timothy Bent
Self-fulfillment and the quiet feeling of accomplishment. That is good enough reason for me to continue writing. But then again when I am outside and meet people in society for the first time and they ask what I do, I refrain from telling them that I am a writer. I just say I am a stay at home mom and a blogger.
When I first told my friend about my wish to quit teaching so that I could write I was surprised by her reaction. “Why would you want to do that when you haven’t sold anything?” she asked. I felt her words in my heart and it hurt. Ever since that day I am hesitant to tell people that I am a writer. I don’t know exactly when I wanted to be a writer. But as far as I remember, I believed there was a writer in me.
For a long time though I didn’t write at all. I did other things. I told myself I didn’t have time to write. I had a family to raise. I had to teach. To work full time. But I never stopped scribbling on the page. I just wrote down my feelings. I poured out my anger, my joy, my passions, my disappointments, my heartaches and my dreams on the page. I experimented with the different colors of ink in my fountain pen. I wrote at different times of the day. Whenever I had the chance I scribbled. Sort of a diary type of thing but not a diary since I didn’t do it every day.
When I got carried away and lost myself in my work and my daily routines, writing those pages helped me get in touch with reality, my reality. And when I lost my husband and with him I lost my self, it was my writing that helped me find myself again and bounce back to life. And that for me is a great accomplishment.
I guess I am not good at marketing myself or ‘shameless self promotion’ as some media gurus call it nowadays.
I don’t even know how to do it or where to start despite all the research and struggle to conform my work to the needs and prejudices of that faceless person whom I’ve targeted. Do I envy those who succeed in promoting themselves or their work? Of course I do. But I also believe, to quote Timothy Bent:
“Writing is not self-marketing or media-star-imitation, and hyperbole is a dodge for the real thing.”