by Velda Brotherton
Ever think of why you write? I do. Lately I've been thinking a lot about it. Yet, when everything goes wrong and I swear there are other things I’d rather do, and take a few days off just to see, I’m convinced I’m right where I belong. It’s more of a calling than a career. Because, let’s face it, there’s not much money or fame involved, like in the movies about writers. So I made a short list.
Here's a list of things I've tried at one time or another to occupy my spare time:
Why did I have time to devote to all these endeavors? In our late 30s we quit our jobs in 1972 and left the dizzying life of commuters in New York and came to Arkansas, determined to raise what we needed to eat. At my uncles urging we bought a few cattle to graze on a fenced acreage of pasture. Encouraged, we then bought some rabbits and chickens and settled down as back-to-the-landers. A wonderful time when I learned to butcher chickens, rabbits and even a hog (once was enough of that). Because eating wasn’t our only need, my husband got a job that didn’t involve stress and we settled into our country home.
As you can imagine the office I write in today has gone through many phases. It once held a sewing machine and stacks of material. I made almost all our clothes. I knitted sweaters and learned to crochet, which is something else I'm not intended to do. During my music teacher phase it held an old upright piano and an electronic piano. I kept my saddle there too because the barn was across the road and open to one and all, including my lovely precocious, ornery Tennessee Walker Katy. I rode her frequently, thus filling more time with an enjoyable hobby. Had to give that up, too. See reason stated after gardening above.
The next time you get upset, or moan and groan over your chosen occupation, think about why you write, how you manage to remain in the profession, and make a list of what you might do if you quit. Then tear it up, sit down and go to work on your next writing project, ‘cause you know you gotta love this life or, like me, you’d be butchering chickens, raising cattle, crocheting sweaters, or fill in the blanks from your own list.