Not being wealthy, having to pay rent, and being only occasionally reimbursed for my work, means that in the twenty-four years that I’ve been writing, I’ve mostly worked too. The last year or so I haven’t worked much at all, and I’m realising that I’ve missed it.
I’m used to writing around work, fitting it into the beginning or the end of the day: there were long stretches of getting up before five am to write, before completing a full 9-5 day job. The first thing I would do on getting a job contract would be to locate the nearest MacDonalds, so I could get there with a couple of hours to spare, and write.
But now I’m work-free, and the entire day stretches around and ahead of me, and it’s too much. To get things done, there needs to be a bit of pressure. When it comes to time, I need to feel the pang of not having enough, rather than the quiet hum of an ample sufficiency.
Writing isn’t a luxury to be enjoyed at leisure, it’s not a path laid out in rose petals. It’s an obligation, ruthlessly enforced.