This weekend, I am going on a retreat. Not a spiritual retreat or a retreat to relax at a spa, but a writing retreat. I will spend all weekend at a B&B with another writer friend, working on what has become a second job of sorts—my novels.
What started out as a diversion from my day gig as a newspaper reporter (back when that’s how I made my living) has turned into a compulsion. At night, after I’ve worked a full day and my daughter is in bed, while other people enjoy their favorite TV shows or scrapbook or clean house, I get back on my computer and write fiction. This is no hobby. I’m driven—not just to tell stories, but to succeed. To get a book published. Because I’ve come too close already not to see this dream through.
I landed a literary agent last year and got seen by a few publishing houses before deciding Agent and I weren’t the right fit. Now, several new agents are considering my work. I’ve completed three books so far (one so bad it will never see the light of day, two I’m actually proud of), and I see them getting better each time. My latest project, well, let’s just say I’ve got a good feeling about it.
Sometimes I think I must be crazy—a working mom who won’t let herself rest, whose idea of a vacation is holing up with her laptop for 12 hours of uninterrupted time writing a book. I could have a cleaner house. I could be in better shape. I could even probably have a better relationship with my husband (thank God he’s so supportive and understanding) if I could just let this fiction writing thing go.
But it’s become a part of who I am. And it’s the one thing I do that’s for me alone. I love my job and get a great deal of satisfaction from doing it well. I love raising my daughter and am proud of how she’s growing up. But within each of those things is an obligation to somebody else. With my books, it’s just me writing for me. Me working my ass off for no other reason than because I want to. If I succeed, then I will have succeeded on my own, and that’s a powerful feeling.
So what about you, fellow WMAGs? Do you have a “hobby” that has turned into a consuming passion? Any other novelists out there? How do you balance writing with work and family? I’d love to get some tips. And if you’ve got a success story, by all means, share!
Update: Read more about Sara’s publishing career in these articles: