Once upon a time I had my life all planned out. Go through school, and write. Graduate, and write. National Service, and write when I can. Further my education, and write. Sustain myself with part-time and freelance work, and write. Repeat the last step until I have a viable writing career.
I achieved my goals. All except the last one — for now. I’ve written and published every substantial Michael Chang story I’d planned. I’ve written a bunch of other stories, which may make it into print or the Internet sometime soon. I’ve also met my current education goals (and exceeded them).
I was younger then. Less concerned about practical matters. Sure, I’d accomplished almost everything I’d set my heart towards, but they don’t exactly pay the bills. Much less prepare for marriage, a new home, all the major milestones in life. There was the little problem of the Michael Chang stories not meeting my minimum standards anymore. And the small matter of tax reliefs exceeding annual income twice in a row.
Times change. People change. So do I.
That means getting a job. Actually a few, the way things are going. That seems to be coming along pretty nicely. But it means that I can’t dedicate as much time to writing as I used to. It means a lower story output, longer times between publications, a marked revamp of my internal writing schedule. That’s a bit galling, now that I’m committed to writing full-length novels whose estimated length is a hundred thousand words apiece, and that I’m in an industry where success seems predicated on releasing as many high-quality works as fast as you can. It feels counter-intuitive to give up the one element — time — that allows me to do just that.
But if I play my cards right, it means I’ll be able to keep on living. And writing.
Sacrifice is a common theme throughout many world religions, spiritual paths, and codes of conduct. At its heart, sacrifice is about giving up something lesser to gain something greater. Everything has its price. The price of being able to continue writing — and living long enough to do it — is some of the time I could have spent on writing. But the prize…
…is simply another life. Hopefully a life that takes me closer to that long-ago dream of being an international bestseller. Writing has never been a hobby for me. Right from the beginning I wrote with an eye towards being a professional. I haven’t given that up. I won’t. But that means adjusting the rest of my life to make it possible. Changing. Dropping that which holds me back.
A new life beckons. An old chapter closes, and a new one awaits.