Writing: A Stress Free Job?
It's morning. A cup of coffee is sitting directly to my left. I do not even have to pick it up to get a drink; someone else has placed it directly within reach of my lips, given a slight turn of the head. The computer listens to me write these things. Actually, it writes them for me as I use a dictation program to get my words to paper.
Sounds pretty sweet, right? I am an author that commands my surroundings! Almost ...
I am a 29 year-old quadriplegic, diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at age 16 months, and have adapted to the circumstance. I thank God most days that he has given me talent as a writer and blessed me with somewhat of an audience. Scenes of a fulfilling life are tough enough to find for all of the able-bodied persons with great work ethic who are out of a job right now, but all I have to do to feel accomplished for the day is flap my lips for a while. He has said, "You're welcome, I have given you free-will and an avenue to explore all of which that means."
Readers do not have to look very hard to find proof that I definitely explore my free-will! I have a book of memoir poetry on the market (The VirginJournals, ASD Publishing) that warns readers on page one not to venture any further if they're going to be offended by thoughts of an NC-17 nature. Some people did not heed the warning and I have heard stories where the reader closed the book and said, "I didn't know people thought like that". I take some pride in that. :) Eastern Washington University picked up The Virgin Journals as curriculum for a disability studies course in the spring quarter of 2012. 23 of the 26 student feedback responses I received were positive. The other three had problems with my language and subject matter. Free-will has been examined and rewarded.
Having a book out is nice. Wonderful. A blessing. But, it is also the past. This ridiculous belief (I mean, my God, the book is out less than nine months already) keeps me driven to write more. I have a couple of friends who each have of a pair of esteemed poetry volumes widely released with their names on them that I visit with weekly, Jonathan Johnson and Dennis Held. They've been very supportive of my work, congratulatory towards my so-called accomplishments, but they've also continued pushing me. As a writer, I appreciate that. As a person, I need that.
"Authors" seem to hold a unique identity in the eyes of every day writers. We, if you'll allow me inclusion for getting lucky to have a book on the market, are the published. We have achieved the be all and end all of words. We are broke as shit. Well, maybe that last one is just me again.
What I am driving at, is that being an author can be a professional choice. One grand piece of work does not mean that the individual who wrote it feels like they are done working. For me, having The Virgin Journals get published did nothing but increase the pressures I have placed on myself for continued success. I would like to have another book released. I have a manuscript that is ready to be butchered by a new publisher or editor (ASD Publishing has been nothing but gracious to me and I appreciate them dearly). I have received more rejections since being published than before.
Literary magazines, online journals, blog websites, personal pages, newspapers, the backs of restaurant receipts ... I have published individual poems and stories in a lot of places. It takes a lot of time and effort to keep my completed writing pool deep enough to continue submitting. It takes a lot of faith to think that what I am writing might find an audience or even have a venue that will be willing to put it out there. Workplace stress! My work place is at home. Home stress!
Through all of that (the good, the bad), I continue writing because it's what I can do. It's what I am good at. My best guess is that if you have made it this far in the story, you are probably pretty good at writing as well ... or you know me ... or both. In any scenario, thank you for reading.
Please take the time and check out my author page on Facebook for daily updates, original poetry and other writings (www.facebook.com/TravisLaurenceNaught). Please take your money and buy a copy of my book, The Virgin Journals, a poetry memoir from a unique perspective ... don't say I didn't warn you!
Please have a good day!
-Travis Laurence Naught
Follow Travis on Twitter @NaughtaPoet