I've been writing like crazy the past few days. Thousands of words per day, squashing my outline, but fighting a constant battle against distractions. I read once on Veronica Roth's blog that once her book got published, she had to make peace with the fact that some people were going to be unhappy with her. She could no longer say "yes" to everything. She could no longer be perfectly agreeable.
I'm not even published (or perfectly agreeable) but I feel like I'm there. It's in my nature to be helpful and thoughtful and do lots of favors for people, but frankly, I like writing more than I like how I feel after doing favors. Last night I told Derek that everything other than writing seems like a distraction right now. He said I should think of those things as "obstacles" instead, but what's the difference? They both take me away from what I want to be doing.
I wonder if a degree of selfishness is necessary for a writer. Writing is long, hard work that requires enormous focus. How can you do that if you allow people to make endless demands on your attention? This is kind of an existential crisis for me. I like being a generous person, but I also like writing. Is it possible to merge the two?
If so, how would one do that? Seriously, I'd like to know.
* * *
UPDATE (20 minutes later):
So I just took my dog for a walk and by the end of it, I feel a bit like an ass. At first I was feeling bitter, like, "if I were published, people would take my writing more seriously and not treat it like it should be my last priority. And if I don't take my own writing seriously, who will?"
But then I remembered that I know a published author who's like this. They're always so busy and self-important that they don't accept invitations from friends or offer to be helpful when their help would be invaluable to the person in need. I don't have much respect for this author, I intentionally don't buy or read their books, and I don't want to be like them.
I realize that in my ramblings above, I was espousing the "live to write" philosophy when I'm more of a "write to live" kind of girl. Honestly, if you have nothing to live for but your writing, that's sad. And most of the time when people say that, I don't believe them anyway. I think they're just being pompous and trying to make their work sound more important.
So screw it. I will be helpful and kind and also write and have it all! as Liz Lemon would say. I expect this attitude will work out as well for me as it does for her on 30 Rock.
Happy Halloween, fair readers :-)