Hey again! Thanks for stopping in 🙂
Oh, how am I doing? Gee, you are so thoughtful – thanks for asking!
Hmm… so how am I doing?
Well, I am presently in the thick of it: living life as an artist!
And kudos to me, right? I am doing what I set out to do, and am even making enough progress that I don’t hesitate anymore when somebody asks ‘what do you do?’
To give you some idea of what this lifestyle entails, here is some “archie writes” news:
- I placed as a finalist in 3 different writing contests.
- 2 science fiction stories; 1 children’s story. 0 prize money. Nuts.
- I got slightly drunk with power on my library card.
- Support your local libraries – even if just paying your bill for overdue books.
- I watched hours and hours of online workshops, webinars and talks.
- Some of which were that awful phoney life-coach variety, including one where the presenter asked attendees to type into the chat whether we “liked money”.
- I proofread and edited stories from fellow artists.
- A service that I hope to soon provide on this site for a pay-what-you-can fee.
- I am growing a hoard of free downloadable resources on writing help
- Never pay for things when there are a dozen free alternatives already available – most of which I plan to share or link to on here.
- And I even landed a job at a vegan restaurant in Toronto, which I hope to retain as little responsibility working there as possible 🙂
- Perhaps you recall my earlier rantings on worker drudgery but so far I am really not minding the whole routine – I enjoy reading on the subways and people-watching in the downtown.
Beyond all that, I’ve been working on writing.
And yeah, writing is a funny bunny.
For hours you can be lost in a world of make-believe stories, involving characters and conflicts that you try so hard to grow and make real, but are then expected to go back to that hum-drum matrix reality. That’s tricky and does not always go so well.
You might be inclined to dive head-first into the wild artist persona, running about all ungroomed and only engaging in conversation to offer the strangest of thoughts.
On occasion, I do rely on this to get through a day – not bothering to try and explain myself to anyone who doesn’t get how amazing things are happening inside my head.
Seriously, try it and see before you knock it.
And even if you have skill in climbing back out of Alice’s rabbit hole, you still spend an enormous amount of time by yourself, in your head, thinking, thinking, thinking.
Like, that’s kind of half the job of a writer – to think, and then to spill out said thoughts to share. Of course, you clean it up plenty so the jumbled mess can slowly become a more legible narrative, a story, that sucks in the reader for a brief escape from their own life.
So, the stranger the thoughts, the better, right?
Well, only if you can keep some firm footing for yourself, to prevent losing your place altogether in life, especially for those of us inclined towards existential crisis and what-not. This means learning how to stare into that abyss with courage and vulnerability, while still holding reserve to know when to look away.
And that maybe one of the more surprising challenges for me as a writer, being that of trying to not only compress complex themes into a brief tale but somehow finding hope in there to share with the reader, to remind them of the beauty and potential hiding behind all that cruelty and danger we hear about in the news.
While I’m not knocking a good mental break Ego-implosion, I just mean, be careful yea?
But I was deeply mistaken for failing to recognise how much of this life requires a hella lot more than just skill with writing. Since of course, like every other self-employed freelancer entrepreneur, a writer needs to be filling multiple roles to survive. And no, I don’t mean adding “Founder, President and Director” to the end of your name like that should impress us.
What I really mean is that this life requires wearing multiple hats – some more fashionable and shiny than others – and juggling a lot of roles at once.
All that above, everything about the writing life I’ve mentioned so far (which I can refer to as the Child life — mostly carefree, looking for magic to believe in), was mostly things I had some inkling of, at least enough to anticipate as “part of the job” as a writer/artist.
So along with enjoying free play sessions training my inner youth to imagine on command (you know, to help fascinate readers and all), there come responsibilities best fitted for your more rational left-brained mind.
That includes the disciplined Stoic of writing consistently no doubt, but also feeding your inner Bully (yes, the same one who often criticises you with negative smack-talk) when editing your own writing. Then there is also the Student who needs to keep reading and watching anything they can access, learning more ways to improve techniques in the craft of writing. And don’t forget the Cheerleader to run your whole self-promo game, which is fundamental for any business and the publishing industry is no exception.
So there I am, running about with all these hats, trying to do whatever an artist would do next, and then it dawned on me: this is it.
I am exactly where I wanted to be in my life for quite some time now, living out days that seem so rose-coloured from the outsider’s point-of-view.
And, not for the first time in my life, it seemed a little anti-climatic to reach that goal.
Like, I cannot help but find myself wondering from time to time, “now what?”
I guess maybe I was picturing more romantic shenanigans?
Or just something a tad more dramatic to better reflect the creative ambitions of a rebel artist, a free-spirit type chasing a passion, following their own drum. “Midnight in Paris”, anyone?
Suffice to say, the artist life is quieter than I had expected so far.
Maybe that is what I need though, some silence to help hear my own voice to write with?
I heard somewhere that the only peace you can find on a mountaintop is what you bring with you there. So perhaps if I keep writing into the slow dazed life of an artist, I might end up finding something real and shocking that is worth sharing with everyone. Maybe?
I can only hope that where I am at, a place so seemingly in contradiction to the mainstream of loud and quick, will reveal its full potential when I least expect it.
But, until then, keep daydreaming…