Welcome to Writer Rants–where every Friday a writer just lets loose on whatever the heck is bugging her this week. Enjoy.
“The world isn’t going to see itself,” said a tiny voice in my head. I had an idea of where I wanted to go, and after spending six months of my precious-little free time researching European countries, my mind was set.
The next choice was easy—I would go solo, something I’ve dreamed of doing since college. Of course, I haven’t seen a college professor in, oh, about eight years, but what the heck. Backpacking across a European country alone would be better now as an adult because I have money—something college kids only dream of. Plus, I needed a break worse than Jessie in Breaking Bad’s “Felina.”
Writing stirs my soul, fuels my days, gives me goals. However, after year in and year out of pecking away at keyboards, screaming at virtual clients, and giving myself a near-heart attack because of ever-pending deadlines—I wanted a place to go where I would not even be tempted to work. Weekend getaways don’t cut it, and even when camping I have been known to work using my laptop.
Something had to give. Writing, see, for me is like, well, an addiction. I get such a rush from punching out some cleverly concocted catch phrase; from discovering a character hiding in the shadows of some fictional story I’m writing; from seeing my work read, shared, and enjoyed by my fellow writers and friends. Payment only causes this drive to escalate. The more money I can earn, the worse I get. And that came to a boiling point right before I departed via Delta.
See, when a freelance content writer has visions of steamy sands or foods from fancy foreign restaurants in their future, they need some serious cash. Before I left I worked like a mad woman to earn as much as possible for my adventures. After all, I wouldn’t be able to work to make up for any shortcomings or overspending while on “holiday.” Long nights, longer days, and clients with deep pockets—that combination nearly drove me to develop carpal tunnel, not to mention the emotional toil it took on my psyche.
Overworked and past the point of return, I hopped on that plane, and true to my dreams, I did not work while I was away. That doesn’t mean I didn’t write, because I did—on my own terms, about what I wanted to write about, and not for money.
It. Was. A. Lifesaver.
I came home with my writer self wholly restored and ready to tackle any project—or so I thought.
While I was able to “write in my diary” as some drunken Belgians joked to me one midnight, I did not want to do any writing for money. I wasn’t ready for it. I had regained the motivation to work on my novel, which had been in limbo and perhaps near to the fire pit for the past four months. That is the writing I wanted to do, not some tedious content writing that may or not be up-to-snuff and pay worthy.
Well, hell’s bells. Guess what. Bills, that’s right, bills! Most of us have them, and they, apparently, must be paid. That is the vicious loop of a freelance writer. Most of us want to write because we love the craft. Most of us have dreams as big as Stephen King or J.K. Rowling did. So the balancing act begins. Finding ways to punch the time clock in order to work, while saving steam for writing what made us fall in love with the written language in the first place—that is the key.
It took me 3,000 miles and a lot of money to figure that one out. But now I know that having a balance between writing what I love and writing to live the life I want is how I can prevent writer burnout from happening again.
Do you have any upcoming travel plans that will help you regain your writer self?
Miranda B writes wherever she goes and about whatever she does, which makes for some highly entertaining and often surprising content.