Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

Time + Writing

The worse thing about being a writer is the time.

When you're just starting out, everything moves at a glacial speed. You figure that the melting polar caps will be touching your toes by the time that someone takes a moment out of their day to reject you. When I began submitting stories around, it wasn't uncommon to wait six, seven months for a hastily written note, or a check box with ticks, or a form letter with your name and or title spelt wrongly at the top. Everything was done by post then, so I could spend weeks waiting till I got home from school to check the mail and find it empty (or with a bill for my mum--now the bills are for me, and I rather don't like going to get the mail, because nothing good comes from it). I never really noticed the time, then, but it was around fifteen years that I began doing this gig, and that's a lot of time behind me.

Of course, that doesn't mean I don't experience that waiting still. I do, but the difference is, now, with a job and bills and all, I feel that time differently. I feel it especially on the days when the writing is a struggle, both creatively and career wise, of which the latter is known to influence the former. Maybe part of it is that we live in a society in which careers (or at least occupations) define our sense of identity, and when you're not succeeding at your chosen profession, you feel as if your identity is one that has been compromised; or perhaps it's simply that to be creative, being content with oneself is the state of mind from which one can work without interruption; or maybe it has nothing to do with any of those things. But, to be honest, I suspect that it might be the first--and being a writer, it has no set path for 'success'. no way to reach an end goal. When you start, for example, on the edges of the frozen wastes that is the publishing industry, trying to have people speak to you while you're in the cold, getting published is good enough. When you get published, however, you realise that there are levels of publication, and that the higher up the food chain you go, the warmer it gets, and the more people you find huddled round the steel drums reading. Then once you get a place at a steel drum, there's the glances at the windows, and those people who have indoor fires, and who have gas or electricity, and once you get in there, you want more space, maybe extra rooms, and more images I can make to illustrate my already dragged out point.

But it all takes time, and for most of it, your time is spent waiting on other peoples time, and there's just not a whole lot you can do about it, because you got no pull with time.

Speaking of which, I got to work in a few hours, so off to write before that.


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