06 May 2009

When 'What If' Happens

For years, I've been aching to have nothing to do but write. Just write. Writing, to me, is like drawing breath. I just have to do it. And, each time I rushed from the gym to get to my desk for whatever client I was dealing with, I wondered, "What if I didn't have to clock in? What if I didn't have someone else's deadline? What would my life be like?" I would fantasize about waking up a seven, being at the gym by 8:30, working out for two hours every day (I really like my gym time), then, after a shower and breakfast, I would write. And write. I would take myself out to lunch at a sunny bistro, then sip coffee as I typed out a scene or spiced up some dialogue. I pictured myself happy, well-rested, fit, prolific. But, since I've been unemployed (for over a month now), I've done anything but write. See, it turns out I didn't need the time to write -- I would shoehorn that in, much to the detriment of my social life and benefit of my dark circles -- what I needed was dough.

By no means am I a materialistic label-whore. You'd be lucky to ever find me in anything but Gap, except maybe Banana Republic. Whatever you find me in is most likely from the sale rack. I like a solid bang for my buck, people. Being freelance, I am always living on a budget. Sometimes, it's stricter than others. Right now, it's Sado-Masochistic.

The odd thing is, with an open schedule, instead of feeling free and having all the time in the world to write, I find myself slightly paralyzed. With everything in flux, I think of all the things I should be doing, worrying about what might happen, hoping a miracle arrives and eating organic. Because that seems to be the most proactive thing I can do. Go figure. And with all of that, there's no room for the story stuck in my head to come down. I've yet to have a two-hour workout because I'm just a little too stressed out to enjoy that. It makes much more sense for me to be at home waiting for the chips to fall.

But, I was just thinking today that I might as well make the most of this. Why not? Sure, my budget has me spanked into submission and there are real-life worries to deal with, but why not take a few days to dip my toe into the great What If? Maybe tomorrow I'll enjoy a lengthy workout and let the story flow. Get used to being a self-supporting, self-sustaining writer who gets up at 7, is at the gym by 8:30 and has a two-hour workout then writes and writes and writes. Maybe I can make it happen in a build-it-and-they-will-come sort of way. After all, it seems like a version of 'What If' has arrived, so what the hell, right?

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