Let’s play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?
Imagine a better future. That’s an interesting challenge.
For me, part of the challenge is to decide whether or not to imagine I am living with all of the disabilities and marginalization of today. Politics will obviously play a part in the reality. We are not supposed to discuss political topics within IWSG, so in this post, I will simply imagine a political environment that has not significantly worsened so that where I live in this future scenario can provide my preferred social services.
My Successful Future
In my ideal future, I am living in comfortable home. Perhaps it is a 2,000-square feet house on a sizeable piece of property, enough for watching the wildlife in mature trees. No smokers live in the neighborhood, as far as I’m aware. I can walk during writing breaks around my property or down the street without worrying about attacks from dogs or humans. A bus or light rail stop is nearby for errands, because a writer needs groceries and meetups.
The city where I live contains restaurants where it’s safe for me to eat. I meet up with critique partners for coffee (or their drink of choice). Writing groups organize regular gatherings. Bookstores–and there are several–and libraries–including one where I am a frequent visitor– hold wonderful events where I can give readings, sign books, and talk to audience members.
I’m making enough money to attend a few literary conferences or conventions a year.
The cause of my perpetual back pain and fatigue was identified and treated. I have access to decent healthcare and use it as needed. What this means for my schedule is that I can write everyday at the most efficient times for creativity, such as from early morning to lunch then in the late evening, instead of squeezing in lines at the least agonizing times. Most likely, Mondays through Fridays, I start with novel scenes, tackle poetry in the transition to making lunch, and end the day with short story
Mid-afternoon is when I check social media and take care of household chores. The early evening and weekends are when I can give the most attention to my child.
My child, by the way, attends a safe public school where the teachers prioritize her (and all the students’) well-being. We do not need to spend too many hours each week on educational projects. She can play without having to compete, as she friends who we both can trust. We create together.
I write everywhere on a tablet in my home and while on trips. However, I keep a clean desk with a computer in my home library (perhaps 20% of the house space for all the bookcases).
What Am I Writing?
Novels. Short stories. Poems. A mixture of mundane fiction, fantasy, science fiction, and horror (because I appear to be incapable of avoiding it). The occasional autobiographical piece, and related essays.
Not all of what I write is published, yet enough goes out to an eager audience that I can talk with confidence about my projects.
My novels and/or short stories are nominated for awards. When I release a poetry chapbook, someone I have never met both buys it and reviews it.
Changes That Lead to This Future
In our present time, my house is about 1,200 square feet on a nice property in a relatively peaceful neighborhood. This residence is considerably safer than our previous house, which had been lacking modern air conditioning (problematic for concentrating during record-breaking heat waves), had been surrounded by cigarette smokers (troublesome for allergy management and infant care), and periodically swarmed by loose, aggressive dogs that would provide a distraction during writing breaks but not allow for any rest. There has been progress, in that I can now sit either inside or outside at home most days without fearing an attack.
Part of that safety comes from remaining reclusive, however. My current community is poor, conservative in the rural “We want to return to the 1950s!” kind of way, and unsupportive of authors. We have no public transportation, no restaurants or coffee shops that can accommodate special needs, no bookstores, one small group of mostly transplanted and cautious writers, few medical resources, and not the best shopping options. (Supplies and new clothes for public events are purchased online when the internet connection isn’t too slow.) Not mentioned above is that the literary conventions I want to reach would be either in a nearby metro area or easily accessible through that city. Where I live is several hours away from those options.
The hard truth is that for part of my dream, I will need to move, again. My happiest dreams are in the Pacific Northwest, close to where I grew up. That is on the opposite side of North America, and that will be expensive move. My spouse might not go with me.
There is no guarantee that I will be able to access healthcare before it’s too late. I will continue looking at options, but life is unpredictable. So are death and disabilities.
The struggle to reach my dream that I know how to control at this point is to write everyday. When I can’t work on novels, I try to focus on short stories. When those are overwhelming, I strive to complete poems. Anytime the physical acts of writing by hand or typing are too painful, I aim to read. With too many distractions to read a complete work, I squeeze in writing analysis in my mind.
I am a writer. That one part of my oldest dream has long been achieved.
The purpose of the Insecure Writers’ Support Group is to share and encourage. Writers may express doubts and concerns in their posts without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. To see a full list of IWSG authors, click here.