NaNoFeed: The line between dedication and workaholism…

… shifts location, depending upon whom you ask.

Once upon a time, Your Humble Author had a day job that ate her life, to the point where garlic and crosses availed naught, and the beast would not back down when she said, “You are a day job.”

In spite of the time invested (shoveled into, sucked down by) the day job, it did not reward her efforts: she suspected and then knew that she was being underpaid (by $20,000 a year at least) compared to the Virtual Mistress and the Hangers-On (see “court of Louis XIV” or “anybody else’s day job”), her work was published under someone else’s name… you get the picture.

She left.

Smartest thing she ever did. She had money in the bank, so she took a Self-Funded Sabbatical Year, during which she wrote nearly 400,000 words. That’s the five or six unpublished and/or unpublishable novels that are every writer’s dues to the craft.

Now she’s working another day job, but came in this time with an already established identity as a Working Writer. This makes a big difference, because as we all know (thank you, Ernie Hemingway), The Real Writer is the One Who Really Writes. There are commitments, there are deadlines, obligations at the Real Job to facilitate escape from the Day Job.

Nonetheless, there is repetitive stress and sleep deprivation.

There comes a time when enough is enough, even for the Craft. NaNoWriMo is teaching me that the line is very fuzzy, and that I need to keep an ear cocked for the insidious voice that says, “Yeah, whatever, 5000 words written today. You might be able to call yourself a writer if you did at least that much that every day.”

I do make a point of writing every day. That’s made the difference between 51,000 words in 30 days in 2008 (during which I actually drafted fiction on 17 of those 30 days) and 51,000 words as of day 18 in 2011. (Well, that, and doing the bulk of the character development and plot sketching in October. )

But when some evil little voice claims that enough is not enough, then I look for that chalk line on the floor, and check where my feet are planted.

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