It’s rare, but I’ve been asked from time to time for advice. It’s lately been about writing since I might have an opinion or two on the subject. Other times? Life…things. Why? Because I’m old…er…ish. I honestly refrain from offering advice, writing or otherwise, since I find it arrogant that I would think I know enough to suggest a course of action to anyone about anything. Unless it’s about Blu-Rays. I know a bit about those, too. So I thought that I might offer up a few safe things to share with you from my own life, humorous or otherwise, that you can take away from it what you will. Ready?
Okay, let’s get the big one out of the way. A couple of friends asked me the same thing over the past few months; do you have any advice for a friend (or child) who’s interested in pursuing a career in writing? Yes, first, don’t do it for the money and don’t expect to do it for the money. Writing has to be in your blood. You have to live it, breathe it and grow with it. It’s your best friend, worst enemy and few people will understand the relationship you have with it. It whispers in your ear at the most inappropriate times, keeps you up late and gets you up early in the morning. Finally, any reward you get from writing will be the internal satisfaction of seeing a project through from start to finish.
Yes, publishing is nice, but few people get to do it. And the ones who don’t become so discouraged that they stop trying. You can’t do that. You have to keep at it. Not getting published doesn’t automatically mean your work isn’t good enough. It means the right person hasn’t read it yet.
Or you might really suck at it. Time will tell. The point is it’s a commitment and if you can’t commit to the symbiotic relationship it is, then you’ll need to figure out what else you can do in life.
Another big one is family or those who you surround yourself with. BE WITH THEM. I’ve mentioned a number of times about my father having Alzheimer’s and what the experience has been like helping my mother take care of him. I feel my time with him has been, as a co-worker says, an epic failure. The learning curve has been complicated and I’m frequently scared of letting him down. But a couple of good things have come out of this.
First, I’ve had to realign what my priorities are, make time for what’s important and get rid of what’s not. My guy and I have been discussing options and decided together that I’m going to reduce the hours I put in at my day job. This decision only works because my boss happens to be a huge believer in family and taking care of family. It’s the right one to make, though, and we’re in a position to allow me to do this. It’s important.
Second, I think it’s brought my partner and I closer together. It’s easy for two people to become used to things and take each other for granted over time, especially with physical distance like he and I have. Gone are the days when he and I started going out and I was sweating my ass off in a metal forging shop during 100 degree summer days, no air conditioning and breathing in graphite for what? $14 an hour? And working 3 12-hour days only to drive an hour home, sleep for 4 hours and drive another hour back to work for a 4th half day? Gone.
And working solely to make my supervisor or manager look good to people above them who don’t give a rip? Gone.
We can do that crap when we’re young, but when we get older? Be appreciated. Appreciate yourself and don’t get caught up in the drama and shit coming from folks around you. I see a number of people on Facebook who are bogged down by crap that isn’t of their making. Don’t drown in it. Let the person who created it deal with it. Time you spend on it is time you won’t get back.
And there you have it. My two cents on a Thursday. Take from it what you will and leave the rest. Or, perhaps there’s some bit of advice that you’d like to offer up for readers?
Kage Alan is the Back To School watching, Robert Tepper listening author of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Sexual Orientation,” “Andy Stevenson Vs. the Lord of the Loins” and the first book in a separate series, “Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell.” He also realizes that it’s summer time now and that the spiders in the general vicinity need to be aware of the understanding we have; if you enter the flat, you DIE. It’s that simple.