I don’t have a degree in Creative Writing. I haven’t even taken any classes. My degree is in Fine Arts because all they had for web-related stuff back in the day was called “Computer Science” and that didn’t quite fit for design.
I haven’t been traditionally published, I haven’t won any awards. I have only completed two manuscripts, run both through a smattering of Beta Readers, a pseudo-edit and then put ’em up on Amazon.
But… I have three kids. One adult who lives close by, one teenager who lives on the couch next to me and one pre-teen who lives in a little tent in the living room. All are neurodivergent, with the smallest being ASD-Severe. They take a lot of energy.
I have the best co-pilot in life with me, but it’s a lot of energy for both of us. She works very, very hard. Though she, like myself, is disabled.
We hurt, pretty much all the time. Something hurts, and sometimes it hurts badly enough that we’re unable to do things. Sometimes those things are big, like can’t always get up on the roof and clean the gutters out so Winter and its rains is Super Anxiety Times as to whether or not the house will flood. Sometimes those things are relatively small, like standing and walking. As one can imagine, that brings its own levels of anxiety.
And no, there is no help. We don’t have the money for things like hiring someone to do the gutters and the “Supports and Services” for people with disability are vague, ambiguous, difficult to track down and even harder to get them to give it to you clearly. If I wanted, I could get someone to come by and clip our toenails, do the dishes, take our little guy to the movies and drive us to the beach. But no one will come by for 15 minutes and cut the grass.
It’s a rather fuckety system. I haven’t given up trying though.
But the thing is, kids go to school, eat, play, talk, sing, dance and like treats and cartoons and stuff. I also like my wife so much that we spend every night together, streaming something cool and hanging out and flirting then creaking our way into bed way too late at night.
Where in there, if anywhere, is time to pump out the series of books, stories, novels and movie scripts that rattle around in my head?
Why is it that any time I see somebody that’s doing the job that I want, living the life of a published author that I dream of, they’ve got like, no kids, some sort of Writery Degree and have a backlist of about fifty books?
Oh sure, some of them have kids, and I’m sure their lives are all about them. But what is their co-pilot doing? Yep, making six-figures. I can tell you from Lived Experience, that making all that money makes some things a fuck of a lot easier. Only one of you spending 90% of their awake time ‘earning’ all that money means the other gets a lot more freedom.
When both of you spend 100% of your awake time looking after offspring or each other, getting just about anything else done is really, really hard.
But I can’t complain. I mean, I shouldn’t anyway. The ‘problem’ is me. Me and my skewed priorities.
See, I quit Corporate America for love and a new start far from my birthplace. Then I quit Corporate Australia for family. Then I quit Small Business Life to look after my people better. Now, instead of writing all these novels, I’m making cheese toasties and listening to what happened in dreams last night and watching Kangaroo Beach and playing with slime and giving endless pets to a Spoiled Rabbit on my lap. I’ll make a tea for my lovely co-pilot and then struggle in the toilet for 20 minutes.
I could ignore all these things and pump out novel after novel but, much like the six-figure job and careers and shit, it’s just not worth not doing all the other things.