Too much to ask?

14 Jun

All my life I’ve wanted two things: to write and to travel. You’d think being a travel writer would be a natural fit, right? Instead, I attached myself to romance as a teen and haven’t looked back. Everything I’ve ever written for pleasure, other than one short screenplay, has been geared toward romance. This doesn’t mean I’ve stopped wanting to travel. Just that I need to find a different way to combine my interests.

So, here’s what I’d like to do: write romance full time and live in hostels around the globe for six months a year, and at home the rest of the year. Doesn’t sound so difficult, right? It’s straightforward and it gets me everything I want. Problem is, it’s pretty darned difficult to make a livable wage writing erotic romance. With the flooded market and ebook piracy rampant, it’s nigh near impossible to break in at that level while working at another full time job. Or so some of my friends tell me.

Here’s the question I pose to myself several times a day without finding an answer: How do I get what I want? How do I make a livable wage writing full time with the goal of also traveling? I love writing romance. I can’t imagine my life without it. I’m in a day job that, while I’m lucky to have it and while I adore the people I work with, is not remotely what I’d like to do 40 hours a week. The vacation time also isn’t enough for me to take more than a few jaunts here and there every couple years and still have time left over for the other stuff we all need to do.

In some ways, I feel like a “failure to launch” drifting through life, never quite being good at my career because I long to be doing something else. Never enjoying where I am because of where I want to go. I’m tired of that. I want to enjoy what I have and where I am. Problem is, the desire for the things I love keeps me yearning. Travel and writing. I don’t want to do them in quarter or half measures any longer. It’s just not enough. Only full immersion will do and nothing else triggers the “happy”.

Perhaps I’m ungrateful. Perhaps I’m just a whiner. I’m fairly certain there’s a dollop of each in my dissatisfaction. Knowing this, however, doesn’t make the desire to live the life I’ve always dreamed lessen. The search for this life is truly what keeps me up at night and what eats at me when I’m not plotting my newest story on my way to work in the morning.

I’m betting I’m not any different from all the other authors who have day jobs. We want to have the time to spend on our craft. We want to be appreciated and dedicate ourselves to the creative pursuit which makes our soul come alive. We’re always chasing after the next moment of creative bliss and looking for the next chunk of time when we can devote ourselves completely to that place inside ourselves where we truly become ourselves.

Somehow, I have to figure out how to let the journey toward the goal be enough. Nothing else is guaranteed; so little in life ever is.

8 Responses to “Too much to ask?”

  1. Marilyn Campbell June 14, 2012 at 8:22 am #

    Aah, Tibby, what a thought-provoking blog! A love of travel and writing both is something a lot of authors share with you. I know I’m one of them. Anyone who says it’s the journey rather than the destination that makes it all worthwhile has never been to Stonehenge or DiamondHead or the Coliseum. Your goal sounds reasonable and defined so maybe it’s just a matter of time and moving obstacles out of your way. Hope your wish comes true soon!

    • Tibby Armstrong June 18, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

      Hi Marilyn,

      Thank you for your support. I know I’m not alone, but sometimes it’s just nice to hear it, you know?

      The journey is fun, but yes, if we never get to the destination then plodding along the same old path gets old!

      Anything worth having, and all that though, right? 🙂


  2. Karla Doyle June 14, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    Hi Tibby,

    I hope you find a way to make all of your dreams come true. Whatever else you do, keep writing, please! ((hugs))


    • Tibby Armstrong June 18, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

      Hi Karla,

      Your support with Undercover Lover has meant the world to me. So many days you’ve put a smile on my face right when I needed it most. I can’t thank you enough.



  3. naramalone June 14, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

    I think you have to just hang in there and believe that something you are truly passionate about can’t lead you anywhere but a good place.

    • Tibby Armstrong June 18, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

      Hi Nara,

      I think I’m a little burned out, to be honest. Work doesn’t allow me much vacation for another year. So, I’ve been nose-to-the-grindstone with the day job. That along with writing 3 books so far this year hasn’t allowed me to look around and enjoy the fruits of my labors much. Hopefully, in another year, that will improve.

      Thank you for continuing to be part of my cheerleading section. It helps to have friends like you in the game.


  4. shannonemmel June 15, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    I think a lot of people, not just authors, can relate to your dilema.

    Working to make life comforatble, or even just make ends meet, versus doing what makes you truly happy, is the trap we all fall in to at some point in our lives.

    The questions are…

    How badly do you really want “it”?

    What sacrifices would you have to make to make your dream a reality and are you willing to make those sacrifices?

    A few years ago, I walked away from a very lucrative day job with two goals:
    To be able to spend time with my grandson
    To have time to write.

    Once I made that decision, all of the little “loose ends” fell into place and not only was I enjoying my life again, it felt “right”. Balanced. Effortless.

    It’s easy to fall back into the same rut– focusing on a job instead of the things that are important to us, like family and time to enjoy your life.

    As I read this post, I realized that my current day job has (again) treaded much too deeply into my “me time”. I find I’m less satisifed and less productive all around.

    I also realize that I need to scale down again and delegate and reassign day job tasks that are really NOT my responsibility so that I can do MY job and leave the office with enough energy in reserve to do the things that ARE importanat to me.

    Thanks, Tibby– I think you just made my life a whoooooole lot simpler!

    Good luck with finding your “happy place”!



    • Tibby Armstrong June 18, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

      Hi Shannon,

      Your words are very wise and bear thinking about. Over the last week I’ve spent a little more time just relaxing. I realize this doesn’t count toward the writing goal, but I felt I was pushing too hard and not enjoying the process as much.

      During this down time I’ve had ideas for several other stories and have also begun brushing up on my CSS skills and learning PHP. There is more than one path to destination, and I was thinking that I’ve always loved working on web sites. I’m no designer, but I know there are many people out there who need help with the back-end work on their WordPress configurations and templates. Could it hurt to have a third job? (LOL) So, if I can offer my services in this arena as well as write, I might have a shot at more independence. If all else fails, then I’ll teach at a private school in a couple years (I have a Master’s degree) and travel over the summers.

      The above plans were formed with your advice in mind, so thank you for helping me to think outside of the box. Perspective is so important!

      Good for you for being brave enough to make time to enjoy your family. It sounds like they are very special and lucky to have you.


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