But it's hard to stay fine when it's what you do for cash. I think (and this may not be a great metaphor, but it's the only one I can come up with at the moment that seems to fit) of a prostitute. That's intimate stuff, and it's being put out there for money. Much like a freelance writer. Do you imagine the prostitute always performs well? Or are there hit or miss days for them as well, days when they make love with passion and energy and days when they scrape by with just a well done hand job? I know, writing wise, I have hand job days--my work is swift, it gets you to the end, it's not unsatisfactory. But it's not the orgasm the reader could have had.
Freelance work is most days a whole lotta nothing. There are days I spend watching mindless TV, going back to bed and reading after the maid has gone for the day and can't judge me, texting friends as early as I can (not before 4, because you don't want to look like you have nothing to do, not after 5, because they'll have already made plans for the evening) to see if they want to meet later that day. Killing time. I may as well be a murderer, like the Mad Hatter said to Alice. There is no genius burning, nothing like I imagine the old days of writers to be, a lot of writing in an attic and then an evening pint with other writer friends. And the funny thing is, if you count all the extra (meaning: non-book related) work I have, and the amount of Twitter/Facebook/blog stuff I do, I'm writing more than I have in my entire life. It's just not "work" writing. Not "career" writing either. It's just... writing.
They don't tell you about the not glamorous days. I met a boy at the IIM I was at recently, and he said to me, shiny eyed, "Tell me about your life! I watch Californication, is your life like that?" I laughed and said that was like asking a surgeon whether their life was like Grey's Anatomy, but even friends, random people I meet say, "Oh, your life looks so exciting!" And I feel the need to wave my cigarette holder about, kiss people on the cheek, weave flowers through my hair, compulsively write in my little Moleskine at parties, be the kind of writer that people who want to be writers try to be. Horn rimmed glasses and all. Throw about a good mango/seduction metaphor. Talk about my perfect writer-y life, in the perfect writer-y flat with the perfect writer-y cat. When in reality, some days, I wake up to uninspiration. Some days, I am longing for the sound of someone else's voice inside my head. Some days I think I'll never be able to write again, that every word that leaves my fingertips sounds hackneyed and trite. Some days, my perfect writer-y cat greets me with a perfect poop in the middle of the living room floor.