The prolificness (I looked it up and this IS a real word!) of certain creative people astounds me. Lately I've been contemplating these types of people and wondering how they do it. Mark Twain wrote dozens of books, tons of short stories and essays and wrote material for the myriad of speaking engagements he did. Jack White of the White Stripes has at least 3 bands, at roughly the same time, for which he writes music and lyrics and performs with lots of other very talented musicians. There are countless people who have amazingly brilliant collections of creative work, whether it be musical, written, performed or created with other artistic mediums.
How do they do it?
I know many of these people are not the norm. They are geniuses who live and breath their work. Sometimes they have a lot of money, resources or help to free up their time and focus heavily on the creative process. But not all. There are many stories of people writing books while working full time or taking care of young children all day. Artists who painted what we now consider epic examples of the form, but they also had day jobs or did other things. What's more amazing are the people who did things like write full time for a newspaper and simultaneously write novels in their spare time. That's A LOT of writing.
Someday I would like to get to the point where I write no matter what is in the way, with no excuses. So I have two young kids who pull a lot of my time and patience from me. So I live in a house filled with 7 other people and rarely get a moment to myself. So I don't sleep much. If something is really important, don't you make time for it?
Jim reminded me of a quote someone gave as to what makes a writer. The person simply said it is a person who writes. It isn't someone who is good at writing, or published or anything like that. Just a person who writes. I want to be a person who writes. Who doesn't worry about whether I might get published today or in the future, or whether people will like what I do or get embarrassed about how my material will be taken in light of my personality or personal life. To use another writing saying, I want to be free to write what I know, even if it gives more of my personality away.
And that is my other struggle. To be honest with what I write. As a general rule, I keep a lot to myself. I'm careful what I share and how. I try to edit my thoughts, even, before I say them, so that I don't offend or sound stupid or give away too much of myself to people who may or may not use it against me. When a direct question is asked, honesty is not a problem. When I have to admit I'm wrong and apologize to someone when I've made a bad decision or done something that has caused a problem, I usually do. But, when it comes to volunteering many of my thoughts, foibles, quirks or shortcomings, I'm not so great.
I want to overcome my shyness and my excuses and become prolific. I want to write whatever comes to mind, to reflect my own point of view maturely and freely, even if it ends up being taken wrong or is written badly. I think that is the point I need to get to in order to be a real writer.