I'm not talking about writing for free -- though I've done that in the past to build up local newspaper clips. I'm talking about turning down paid writing work in order to have time to write something that may never pay. About a year ago, I reduced my freelance writing (paid blogging, film reviews, Hollywood columns and novel coverage) because continuing those assignments, along with working a day job, left me no time or ability to work on my novels.
The decision earned me anxiety and insomnia; I feared I was crazy for turning down work. Could I have used the money? Absolutely, in the short term. But in the long term, I have to believe my novels will become a source of income one day. If I don't believe it enough to give it everything I've got, who will? Besides, the joy I get from creating stories and characters, even if just for myself and my friends, outweighs the frustration I feel when I don't have the time or energy to pursue my real passion. Life is short.
A month or two after deciding to focus on my unpaid writing, I was lucky enough to sign with a wonderful agent. I'd like to think the two are connected.
Kind of a serious entry for a Friday, but it's been on my mind because of my writing retreat next week. I plan to get a lot done.