I have spent a lot of time (and I mean, A LOT of time) trying to figure out exactly what to do with my starry-eyed childhood dream of, “I’m going to be a writer when I grow up!” It seemed so simple back then, and in the ensuing years of teenage optimistic naivete: write stuff, publish stuff, be a literary hit, take cool vacations with the spoils, be deliriously happy. Done and done.
In the decades since my very first story (The Littlest Tadpole, lovingly written and illustrated, and expertly stapled together on craft paper in my Kindergarten years), I have written many things, finished few, and published even fewer, and have in my late 20s settled more fully into the blunt reality of adult bills and responsibilities. Low and behold and to my utter astonishment, I didn’t spit out an instant literary classic in the early days of my young adulthood and turn out independently wealthy and living the good life before 30.
Being a professional writer rather than just another starving artist with a brain-numbing day job is, as it turns out, a whole lot of hard work. Who knew?… Aside from those who’d already done or are already doing it. You all knew – most of you probably learned the hard way too… right?
Anyway, I’m finally starting to catch up with reality (hi there, Reality! I’m Celeste – we’ve met a few times before, but I don’t think you properly introduced yourself until my first real Hydro bill), and at long last, I’m settling in for the long haul.
So, just in time for New Year 2018, I am beginning the next (and really, first) step in realising a realistic version of my starry-eyed dreams, which takes the shape of posting up my Reality-Meet-Dreams manifesto, which goes like this:
MANIFESTO FOR MAKING 2018 AND ONWARD THE TIME OF BAD-ASS WRITING
- I can’t yet, but I’m going to make my entire living as a writer someday.
- To make that happen, I will write more, finish what I write, and seek publication wherever there is opportunity.
- To seek publication, I will be confident, consistent, and steadfast; none of this ‘But I’m A Sensitive Little Creative Writer Snowflake’ crap – nerves of steel. Rejection slip? Pah, that’s nothing – I’ve got twenty more articles and short stories where that one came from. Bring it on, form rejections. Bring. It. On.
- To be consistent, and with my surprisingly-logical-for-a-creative-type-brain, I will lay down the law for myself – there will be a schedule, a friggin’ punch clock if need be, time allowances, submission spreadsheets… the works. It’s going to be terrible. It’s going to be glorious.
- And finally, to lay down the law, I will hold myself accountable – and what better place to do that than the world wide web? Blog like a demon, post goals I can’t pretend later I never made (and forget that there’s an “Edit Post” option available for those goals), and give the procrastinator and excuse-maker in me no quarter.
So this is it: the first day of the rest of my writing life. Time to make my plans, make my lists, make my schedules, and make my move. And compile a comforting pizza budget, because being a starving artist is only romantic in the movies. In real life: fluffy crust, meat, and cheesy goodness, STAT.