Journal

The Turning Point

… or the (embarrassing) story of how this blog came about.

Prologue

I’d been trying to a novel for years, amassed a folder of false starts, interrupted by a heavy academic schedule, compounded by work, and the complications of a long distance relationship. During those years I still found time to write non-novel related fiction set in a shared world I helped create with a group of friends. One by one, my writing friends got busy and our collaborative writing group went quiet. I still needed a creative outlet. By this point, my life had settled down a bit and I was restless.

At a friend’s suggestion I decided to start up an Etsy shop.  I’ve always been good at making things (give me scissors, glue, paper, and enough time, and I can build you a model of anything), but I’ve always done it to fill the time and keep my hands busy when I was watching TV.

I put a few things up for sale, and to my amazement they sold. I threw myself into learning the ins and outs of business, new craft techniques, photography skills, and networked with other artists/designers/crafters. By the end of a year I was using all my spare time to make things, organize finances, promote, or network. I turned in a small profit, but I was exhausted.

I watched as some people made the leap to full time, while others shops shut down or were abandoned. I started paying attention to the stories behind the most successful shops, and I noticed one common trait: passion. These people were willing to work long hours, were hungry to learn more about the craft, go above and beyond the demands of their day jobs. I wondered where they got all the energy. I didn’t have it.

I started writing again. Not for my friends, but for myself. Writing started taking up more and more of my time and creative energy. Ideas took root everywhere. I recognized that spark I’d been missing, but I kept the shop open. It felt like a waste to just let it fail after putting in so much effort to make it successful. People were finally starting to take my hobby/business seriously.

E was frustrated that I wasn’t spending enough time with him. Shop orders started going nuts, I lost sleep trying to fill wholesale orders, I had to take vacation days to work on my business. I still felt that nagging itch to write, but my free time dwindled to zero, and when I wasn’t exhausted, E and I argued about stupid things.

Then one night I had one of those rare life changing dreams.

~begin dream sequence~

So one day Colin Firth, Ben Barnes, and Mark Wahlberg walk into a bar…  I’m joking. It was a shopping mall.

Colin and Ben were having an argument. Colin (my business) was shouting about our history together,  and how we’d worked so hard to get the business going. Ben (my writing) looked like he would cry.

“Do I mean nothing to you?” Ben asked.

My dream self went through the logic. I’d thought it had been just a brief spat of passion/an affair. I didn’t want to let it mean anything to me, but I’d always had a feeling it could have turned to love if it had been given enough time.

My dream self was torn.  I hadn’t been willing to gamble on Ben. Common sense (and my parents) told me the chances of it coming to anything were almost zero, that I should stick to my commitments, that I was already doing well with Colin.

Now Mark (my husband), walked out of an elevator, followed by a gaggle of children. He had never met the other men before. The kids were were making a fuss, and a baby in the stroller was crying.

He walked right up to Colin and said, “We have 5 kids. I’m not going to let you mess this up.”

You don’t mess with Mark Wahlberg. Chaos ensued.

Note: E does not look like Mark Wahlberg, nor do we have any children (yet).

~end dream sequence~

I woke up that morning and knew I had to make a choice. I decided to give up the shop. I wanted to channel all that energy I was wasting into writing, and to see where passion would lead me.

So I started a new novel, and reading writing blogs/book blogs/author blogs. There was so much I wanted to say that I thought I might vomit Times New Roman if I didn’t get it out.  I didn’t want to drive E nuts with all the writing talk, so I started this blog.

Epilogue

You know what surprised me most? Ben and Mark get along.

Even though I put in long hours writing, E never complains. He’s been all encouragement. Writing puts me in a good mood, and that makes him happy too.  “Passion” made all the difference (though crazy dreams, and Colin Firth do help too).

So go forth and live passionately, my friends. Don’t be afraid. I wish I’d figured this all out a long time ago, but I’m stubborn like that 😉

Did you make a choice to take writing seriously? Or were you one of the lucky ones that always knew what you loved?

21 Comments

  1. Wow. Great story.

    I wouldn’t say I’m one of the lucky ones. But I have always known that writing was my first love. For me, instead, it’s been a battle of practicality versus passion. I’ve always known I have a passion for writing… but I have a practicality streak a mile wide, and over time, that practicality has hammered away at the passion. Which is part of why it’s so tough to find time for writing – because time for writing takes away time for more practical pursuits.

    I’m lucky to have a supportive wife, but she’s also extremely practical, so her support only goes as far as is… well… practical. She understands my passion, and doesn’t want me to lose it; but we both worry about would happen if I threw myself fully into my passion and then… nothing positive (and especially nothing financially rewarding) came about because of it. And statistically, even if I’m good at my passion, nothing will… That’s the hard battle that goes on inside me. And that’s why I went to school, and work a day job, and am getting a master’s degree in a field that doesn’t hold my passion… and why writing time has to be relegated to hobby-time, for now.

    Someday, maybe my writing will produce some small financial reward. And then, maybe, I’ll be able to devote a little more of my time to it than I am able to now… I hope every day that this comes to pass.

    1. T.S. Bazelli Author

      I know what you mean. I’m also a practical person (which is why I took Computer Science in university). The advice I got on the shop was: When your hobby starts bringing you in 80% of your current salary, then it’s time to quit the day job. I think it applies equally to writing and anything else.

      You know what though? Even if I never get paid for it, I’ll still keep writing. Somehow it helps me feel like ‘me’. I’m not going to give it up now that I’ve discovered the joy of it again. Getting published is something I’m working towards, but ultimately a bonus.

  2. Hmmmm…

    For me, my recognizable writing career started when I was younger, and I wanted a free computer. BUT…that’s a story for another day. He he…

    I’ve been a writer for years, on and off. I took a year off from writing once. Blech. And now, like I wrote in “Rusty me,” I’ve been feeling a bit out-of-it on the novel front. (Something I should probably force myself to get back into). My writing life and my “real” life don’t really fight, like Ben & Colin, lol, usually it’s just a matter of feeling “Inspired.” That and the whole my-writing-is-souless thing.

    But, haven’t “Made the choice” yet. It’s just been a kind of slow easing.

    I like these stories!!! Keep them coming!!! 🙂

    1. T.S. Bazelli Author

      Will do on the stories! I’m surprised no one’s said “you sure have crazy dreams” yet. LOL

      A slow easing is good too. Less of a shock for sure. I think I’d have preferred that. Momentum helps though. It’s easy to write every day since I’m in the habit of it. Taking breaks doesn’t work for me. That’s when the ‘uninspired’ feeling and doubt creep in.

  3. That was not an embarrassing story at all! =) Being so inspiring cancels out the possibility of embarrassment. =P

    Coming to Peru was my eye-opener and turning point towards a life “lived passionately.” I’ve always loved writing and remember starting (and never finishing) hundreds of short stories on my dad’s old DOS computer, but I never thought it could be a career. When I got to Peru, I was inspired by other expats who had started writing careers. I feel so fortunate to be able to take my time developing my writing style here. Since the cost of living is so much lower than in Vancouver, I can make do with just writing a couple articles a day as I develop my writing style and figure out where to go from here. =)

    Thanks for sharing your story and asking about ours. =)

    1. T.S. Bazelli Author

      The cost of living is a big factor. Sometimes I wish I could leave Vancouver and live somewhere less expensive. I may make the move one day 🙂

      Thank you for sharing your story too. I think it takes a lot of courage to move to another country. It’s not easy, and I’m glad that it’s working out well for you!

  4. Haha, what a cute, strange little story.

    I’ve known since I was 9, but I’ve still had to make choices… Give up compsci double major in college. Take a less stressful part-time job. Quit a day job altogether.

    The writing life is never easy, and there is no set path. But like you said: if there’s passion, we must pursue it. 🙂

    1. T.S. Bazelli Author

      I know those must have been tough choices to make.

      You’re right, there’s no straight path. I’m always amazed when I read author’s stories of their lives. They’re all so different. 🙂

  5. Hi T.S.,

    I have been a lurker (sort like Batman…not like a stalker…LOL) for a little while at your blog and decided to finally chime in. I can understand the struggle because as a writer, I have come full circle. Writing for me was like a love and hate relationship. I would kick her out telling her never to come back into my brain again and later invite her back in for green tea and small talk.

    Nothing is more scary than pursuing your passion that God has called you to do. Yet as Dr. Martin Luther King said (paraphrasing): “Take the first step and the stairwell will appear.” 🙂

    1. I hope you and writing have sorted out your differences, and its all going well now. That is an excellent quote, and it’s true. Sometimes we just have to jump, even when we’re not sure there’s a stairwell at all.

      Thank you for joining in the conversation EJ 🙂

  6. I really enjoyed that 🙂

    I think everyone can relate to this. I admire that your have always pursued your passions, and when forced (through no fault of anyones) to choose between 2 out of 3 of these passions you not only made the right choice but you are clearly very content with the choice you made. Sometimes you have to give up even things you love to balance your life.

    Congrats, and good luck 🙂

  7. Forget the writing…I’d go back to sleep and see if that dream would continue 😉

    Seriously though, that was a funny and inspiring story. I’m too practical to ever quit the day job without any writing income coming in. SO, as long as I’m unpublished, writing will remain my spare-time hobby.

    I’m glad you decided to pay attention to your writing. Good luck 🙂

    1. Oh I tried! But once I was awake, I couldn’t fall back into the dream again LOL

      It’s still my spare time hobby, and I like my day job, but now writing’s got priority over my other hobbies 🙂 Thanks Janna!

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