Before I begin, let me post a disclaimer right up front: I'm going to bitch and moan and get pissy in this post, so be forewarned. And please accept my apologies if this rant somehow shines a beam of negativity into your otherwise happy day.
So. I'm not published. I don't have an income. Nothing I do at the moment is generating any immediate funds I can use to pay the mortgage, utilities, or buy food. I don't wake up at six a.m. with a long commute in rush hour traffic ahead of me. I don't sit in an office building or stand on my feet serving customers for eight hours a day. I have no need to buy "work clothes". Every single dollar I spend is earned by my husband.
I WORK MY ASS OFF.
And I'm getting really, really tired of people assuming I don't.
I get up each day – between five and seven days a week – and I work. And like everybody else who has a job (be it inside or outside the home), I have a schedule. I get up, I shower, I eat breakfast, and then I sit at my desk and write. I have a quota which must be met before my ass leaves the chair, no exceptions (not even to pee). When I'm working, I don't check my emails, I don't Facebook, I don't answer the phone, and I don't text... and hey, how many of you can say that?
I write an average of six hours a day – which is awesome and I'm not complaining – but it is work. Fun work (hell yeah, and I'm my own boss!) but make no mistake, it is work. My shortest days are four hours long, and my longest day so far has been eighteen hours. (Six hours is my max for the most part, though. Anything longer and I can feel my brain melting.)
Sound familiar? It should, because it's no different than what you do.
Just like you, I work really hard. I set daily goals, weekly goals, and monthly goals. So far in 2009, I've achieved every goal I've set, and I pat myself on the back for that. It hasn't been easy to stay motivated working without a paycheck, and that alone is probably my greatest accomplishment. And let's face it, I may never get published – I might not have the talent, skill, or creativity to see my name in print – but if I don't succeed, it won't be for lack of effort. It won't be due to laziness or apathy. It won't be for any reason I can conceivably control.
And so it insults me when people assume my choice to write doesn't equal a "real job". And while I try not to take myself too seriously – I'm a joker and a geek and the first person to make fun of me – I take my writing very, very seriously. I have to, if I want to have any chance at making it in this business.
So please, respect what I do. Every day is not a holiday where I may write. Most days are working days where I do write. And I can't just drop everything when it's convenient for you. I would never expect you to do that for me.
I'm a writer. It's my job. And all I want is the same amount of respect you get for your chosen profession, whatever that may be. So when I say I'm working, or I'm busy, or those days aren't good for me, I'm not bullshitting. And if I make time for you – whether it's a face-to-face date or just a phone call – know that I really did make time and it's not cool when you blow me off. I wasn't sitting around picking my ass. My time is valuable. As is yours.
Because I work. Same as you.
Rant over. As you were.