Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dream Big and Live Life

I am twenty four, and there are only a couple of things in my life I have ever been truly sure of: the first is that I want to spend the rest of my life with my boyfriend Todd, which I've known almost since we got together; the second is that I have always wanted to write for a living. I'm fairly certain I'll get to do the former, and I have never been so convinced that the latter is what I truly want to do with my life. The only thing standing in my way is me. I know.

I graduated with my MA in English in May, and I can honestly say I'm not even sure I read a book that wasn't required in the entire year and a half I was pursuing that degree, much less put pen to paper. Before that, I was getting my BA, and finding time to write was difficult, but I still managed. Now, though, I teach three classes a semester, which means that even though I have huge chunks of free time in my schedule, I'm constantly exhausted and tired of words on pages and using my time to grade papers (sometimes). I also work at a movie theater because being a teacher really doesn't pay all the bills, especially since I only get paid once a month. So I teach in the mornings and am done by 12:30, and then I spend my nights and weekends shoveling popcorn and making drinks. It's a glamorous life, let me tell you. I am lucky when I get a day off at all, and any actual free time I have is normally spent curled up on my couch staring blankly at the TV simply because my eyes burn and/or I'm too mentally and physically exhausted to make my brain work.

But if I want it, I'll make time. Isn't that what people say? You force yourself to write whenever you can. Any words are better than no words. But I was an English major. And a perfectionist. And I hate writing things that are bad. I like to take my time and craft them well so there's less revising and editing and cutting and all that lovely jazz. But, Amanda, you say, that's just how writing works. Not just writing, creating anything, heck, even life! It's messy and takes work and patience! And I know it. I do. You know what else I know? That I just want to write. I don't want to worry about whether my classes are failing or if my students have figured out how to string words and sentences together any better or if I'm going to want to punch my coworkers for being too lazy to sweep up popcorn. I just want to write and be happy. But I can't do that until I can pay all my bills. And I can't pay my bills without working myself to the bones. Oh isn't life grand?

And you know what? I still find time to write. Because even though the words are crap and I have papers to grade and popcorn to make, writing is what I love, and if there's one thing I learned from my mother more than anything else, it's that you should do what you love. So I teach, and I work, and I lie in an exhausted heap around my apartment, and I write. Because it has always been my dream for people to read my stories, and it has always been my goal to be good enough at crafting them that people will pay me. And one day, it'll happen.

4 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Just write what you can now. You're still young. Take the time you have now to practice. I'm also a perfectionist but sometimes, you just have to write something, perfect or not.
Don't lose faith in your dream.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

It's tough to find the time when you have so many things going. I'm lucky to be at a point now when I have time and don't have to worry about paying the bills, but I remember the stressful days of trying to do it all. Your day will come.

The Blogger Girlz said...

Woo-hoo, go Amanda! I love your determination and the fact that your willing to fight for what you want in life, even if it kills you in the process! :P

Reading this post made me think of myself and how I need to fight more for what I want, so thank you for giving me a reminder and for reminding me that I'm not alone in this crazy writing journey! :)

Good luck with work and writing, I'll be cheering for you! :)

~Ella

Amanda J. said...

Thanks, you guys. It's hard to remember some times that we're part of a community and people I've never even met before support me in my writing. It's always nice to get a reminder that people out there care.

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