Real Life vs. The Literary Life

Today is my day off. As is typical, I wrote up a to-do list last night for today. I looked over it this morning. In part it read:

–Pay mortgage
–Grocery shopping
–Deposit revenue check
–Continue editing
–Upload recent photos
–Look up a recipe for Funeral Chicken

At first glance, it appeared stunningly weighted in one direction. A five-to-one ratio of the Real World over the Literary World. Was there something wrong?

I realized it was a matter of perspective. Recently, after much reading in Writer’s Digest and on several blogs and after re-establishing my Writing Goals for 2011, I’ve come to a realization of balance in a newer and more profound way than when I was in my twenties or thirties.

The goal is not necessarily to make a living as a writer. There are actually quite few of those. Perhaps it is not even to “get published”, those two profound words that dangle over us like the Sword of Damocles.

The real goal is to become a better writer, much in the same way that I can strive to be a better husband or son or friend. It is not necessary to consciously separate components of your life. The only result will be an unhealthy competition that will lead only to disappointment.

So, I will pay my bills, deposit my checks, go grocery shopping, continue editing, deal with the digital camera, and find that recipe. I will attempt to complete my to-do list for today and be content that I have done so.

And I will work to be a better husband, a better son, a better friend.

And a better writer.



  1. February 22, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    I look back at how much writing I got done in high school and college, and I’m simply amazed that I had the time and the energy to get so much done! 🙂 The balance has greatly shifted toward the real world in the past 10 years, but it’s all about finding that balance, I think!


    • tikiman1962 said,

      February 22, 2011 at 2:51 pm

      I have two three ring binders of poetry written from about 1990-1995. I could say that I am amazed at how much I wrote back then as well.
      But as I sort through them, trying to pick out pieces to offer for publication in either traditional magazines or e-zines, I am amazed at how little I think is worthy of the attempt.
      Age changes perspective. To that end, my favorite example is that when I first saw the movie 10, I paid more attention to Bo Derek. (I was a teenager at the time.) Twenty-five years later, I could completely understand Dudley Moore’s plight and didn’t think all that much of Bo.
      Your blog is about getting back to two loves, writing and running. With effort and persistence and patience, I’m sure you will be successful. But I wonder how both will have changed from the past.
      Continued success with your efforts.


      • February 22, 2011 at 3:24 pm

        Ah, yes, that is an excellent point. I look at my output from those years and find very little that I would consider putting out there for anyone to read now. 😉


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