The Writer's Lifestyle
Being a writer is hard work. No, really...
The rich smell of coffee filled the air as the barista behind the counter worked to keep up with the flow of customers that trickled into the cafe. I glanced over the top of my laptop screen, watching the people come and go. Some were out on their lunch break, others just seemed to be out doing some shopping. Nearly every seat in the small shop was filled.
My friend and I were lucky to get there early enough to get our favorite spot - the well-worn leather sofa at the back of the cafe. We met there twice a week,and we always took the same spot - that old, worn out sofa there in the corner, next to the shelf of books and underneath the various works of art that hung on the exposed brick walls. We sat and talked and drank good coffee and warm hot chocolate and we worked. I wrote stories, she wrote programs. But we both wrote.
"So, this is how you work?" my friend asked as she glanced over at my feet propped up on the ottoman and the computer balanced on my leg.
She studied me for a moment, raising an eyebrow as she considered the scene. I could only imagine what was going through her mind at that point. I decided it was best not to ask. Maybe she was wondering why anyone would want to become a writer?
Hard Work and Sacrifice
Being a writer really is hard work. Becoming a writer is hard work. Seriously. Even though to the casual observer it may not seem that way. Not all hard work is a matter of physical sweat and back breaking effort. Writers have their own share of complications, too. There is a lot of stress in writing, in finding just the right word, for example, or coming up with something to write about when nothing jumps to mind. The threat of writers block looms. Not to mention meeting deadlines, appeasing editors and engaging and entertaining the reader. None of these is anything to sneeze at.
Even after something is written, whether it's a poem, essay, novel or short story, there is work to be done. Editing, re-writes, final drafts. Even when all that is done, even when your work has been published, there is still promotion. It's never-ending.
I took another sip of coffee.
"I should take a picture," she threatened.
I waited for her to dig out her camera, but she remained still, apparently contemplating the situation. Or maybe she realized that the battery was dead. Again, I thought it best not to ask.
Owen Wilson Asks Hemingway a Favor
As far back as I can remember, I've had an aptitude for writing, but I only recently began to actually consider trying to make a career out of doing it. In fact, it was not until I found myself being laid off for the third time in as many years when I realized it was time for a change. The traditional goals of a good job with job security is becoming virtually unheard of in today's economy. I decided that it was time to transition into doing something that I enjoy, something that I could do from virtually anywhere, anytime, for as long as I'm alive and conscious and breathing.
I've worked hard jobs. No... really, I have. I've fought fires and shoveled sludge, I've boomed contaminated waterways and rappelled down towers. I've saved people's lives and pulled them from wreckage and I've spent long hours operating machines - forklifts, filter presses, hydraulic pumps and more. I've walked in acid and searched for body parts and felt the crackle of broken bones as you roll a body over to check for signs of life. I have stories to tell.
And then I see a smile cross her face as I started to write.
Connecting with people. Sharing ideas, sharing stories. Sharing joy and love and pain. That, for me, is what writing is all about.
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© 2012 Daniel Petreikis