Nursing was supposed to be my life-long pursuit and career and passion. I invested years of training, tens of thousands of dollars, and long hours of ethical thinking, meta-analysis, and professional inquiry to that pursuit. Writing was supposed to be nothing more than a side item, a serious hobby. Oh, I dedicated an inordinate amount of time to it even before my heart broke, but it was never meant to put food on the proverbial table. It was my passion and my joy, NOT my career. Pleasure, not business, and despite the fact that I have been actually working toward becoming a professional quality writer for years, I never intended to become a professional.
Having been forced by circumstances beyond my control to give up my first choice profession has been both fortunate and unfortunate for me. It is certainly giving me more time to focus on family and writing, but it has also left me with no reason to get out of my pajamas 6 days a week, which is far from my definition of healthy and active living.
My options are certainly limited by my health – I cannot drive, I cannot face the daily stress of the corporate life, I cannot in good conscience trust my body to do the work my mind and heart led me to do as a nurse. Most people find a career to fall back on while they’re waiting for their big break into publishing, but I was the polar opposite. I took writing as seriously as anyone, but perhaps it was always meant to be my fall-back – the thing I would do when my body gave out (well into my 70’s, I imagined), and I could no longer do my chosen work.
Well, for the last few weeks, I’ve been experimenting with writing as work. It still hasn’t put any food, proverbially or otherwise, on my table. But I have been sitting down to do it for two rather short windows of time, at the same time every week day. I still don’t have the endurance to face even that sort of work for more than a few hours a day, but I’ve been treating them like a commitment. And so far, things are working out.
Today, I take a further step toward that end. I cleared off my desk. I polished it until it shined (which took me better than half an hour, with breaks). I removed every distracting thing from the environment. I poured myself a glass of green tea and put on my writing music. I turned on every lamp in the room. I told myself that people do not go to work in their pajamas. People do not go to work with bare feet. I sat down, wearing my nursing scrubs, with my nursing shoes on my feet – they were my uniform for the last five years, and so they remain.
This is not the corporate world, and my deadlines are my own. There is no stress here, to make my heart race and my head spin, but there is still work to be done.
In a moment, I will open my current project file and begin. Where it will take me, I do not yet know, but I do know that it feels rather good to finally be back to work.