Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Living with Uncertainty

If I were a widget maker who went to work in a factory at the same time every day, I would leave work at the same time and the collect the same paycheck. There would be no uncertainty.

Instead I’m a novelist and freelance editor. No two days are alike, and uncertainty is a way of life. Will this novel I’m writing sell to a publisher? After spending 25 hours on this manuscript, will the writer actually send me a check? Will I have enough freelance work this month to pay my mortgage?

A little background: I’m a Type A personality and a bit of a control freak. I never leave on a road trip without a map and a hotel reservation. I am not cut out for uncertainty.

And yet, the life of a widget maker would drive me insane. Conversely, I love this life as a novelist and freelancer. So I must learn to live with uncertainty. Some days are easier than others. Yesterday got the best of me. Financially, this is the worst year my husband and I have ever had, and things will get worse before they get better. But in some ways, we are happier than ever.

Financial insecurity is not the worst of it though. The question of whether my recently completed novel will sell sometimes hinders my ability to move forward as a novelist. I have a new story outlined and two chapters written, yet a little part of my brain says, “Why bother?”

I always manage to push past this point. (Although, it once took a few years.) And I will again. I write because I am a storyteller. And the life of a storyteller is always filled with uncertainty.

6 comments:

Helen Ginger said...

It IS difficult to live with uncertainty. And you've hit a double whammy with writer and editor!

But it seems like you're doing what you love to do. I hope you're able to continue doing what you love.

I've read The Sex Club and it should sell, if more people can just hear about it.

Morgan Mandel said...

We're all in the same boat, but writers write. It's what we do. Can't help it.

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com
http://acmeauthorslink.blogspot.com
http://makeminemystery.blogspot.com

Marvin D. Wilson said...

Well I've read your first novel, and I say with CERTAINTY, please continue with the writing of your 2nd manuscript. Oftentimes, in fact most of the time, it is not the first book that vaults an author to fame and success. It is the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th or whatever. Then suddenly everyone wants to read all your other books.

You chose to be a writer. The life and industry is fraught with uncertainty. So is small business entrepreneurialism. Get over it. and get on with it. You can WRITE, LJ. Put your type A head down and go for it. Good grief with your talent and marketing savvy if YOU are worried about success I should be petrified.

Marvin blogs at Free Spirit: http://inspiritandtruths.blogspot.com/
Eye Twitter 2 - http://twitter.com/Paize_Fiddler

Marian Allen said...

I know what you mean, sometimes wondering, "Why am I doing something that attacks me in my weakest spot?" I have a great dread of rejection, so I'm...what, class?...Yes, I'm a writer and send things out and collect many more rejections than acceptances. Why do we do that? As Morgan said, we do it because it's what we do. Couldn't NOT do it. Besides, it builds character. Or should I say characters?

Jean Henry Mead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jean Henry Mead said...

You certainly said it well for all of us struggling freelancers, L.J. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing than writing.