Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Who Am I Now?

Geralt via Pixabay
About a year after I made the decision to retire, I found myself struggling with an identity crisis. Too young to be retired in the actual sense, yet between jobs that took me into a work setting outside my own home on a regular basis, I was having trouble determining who I was. Days that had previously been structured around the start times and end times of school days were suddenly blank pages in my calendar. I got up, made my daughter's lunch and sent her off to school. From there, the day was mine to structure. I wrote, I planned and proposed community education classes, I taught some classes and I puttered around the house. After lunch, I went to Starbucks for a change of scenery, returning home in time to greet my daughter when she got home from school. No longer a counselor, I struggled with my title. Writer? Educator? Mom, wife, chief cook and bottle washer?

Eventually, I settled on the title I'd long wanted to claim: writer. Finally, finally I had quiet blocks of time during normal daylight hours to pursue paying gigs and work on my novels. I had arrived.

Then, the next month, I got an email that rocked the boat and called my new definition into question as I entered the next phase in my life and career(s).

Mediamodifier via Pixabay

Now, five years later, I find myself in a new identity crisis. "Educator" has risen to the top, squeezing out "writer" and all the good habits I developed in that first year. During the summer, the roles typically reverse, with writing taking top priority, but teaching may be on the horizon for this summer, leading me to push the writing panic button.

Am I still a writer if I don't write?

Ah, but I do. I'm embarrassed to admit how long I spent in panic mode before coming to the realization that I'm still a writer even if my novels are languishing. I write a minimum of five blog posts a week in addition to writing at least one article a month for online or print publication. It's not writing for a living, but it is writing. And, although class preparation has taken over my daily sprint time when school is in session, I still manage to get a little work in on those novels from time to time. It's not ideal, but I haven't given up either. I love my characters and am fortunate to have readers who want to know what they're up to.

So, for now, the day job will prevail. That's not all bad -- except for the fact that I can't eke out enough writing time, I love what I do -- all of it.

As long as writing is on my radar, I am still a writer.

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