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Write From Home
Kim Wilson
P.O. Box 4145
Hamilton, NJ 08610

E-mail: kim @ writefromhome.com

Off the Page...
March 2004 Column

Sometimes, Less Spells Success

by Tama Westman

So you’ve got some steam in your writing engine and see your efforts paying off? You’ve gathered some clips, consistently query, maybe you even write a regular column or have a great gig with a Web magazine. You’ve worked hard to produce the publishing opportunities that seemingly appear at your fingertips. But you dream of something more… if only you had the time.

Maybe you want to try your hand at poetry, teach a class or take a course even. Perhaps there’s a novelist lurking under your skin waiting to emerge. “Managing kids and clips under one roof” can be an all-encompassing, exhaustive effort. However, you can’t allow aspects of your favorite pastime to become time wasters. What may be keeping you from realizing your dreams is you.

Small successes snare
Recently I was offered a position with a nearby small town newspaper. I could exchange my stressful, never-know-if-you’ll-get paid freelancing life for a regular paycheck, and benefits.  “A beat reporter,” the editor said, covering a particular line of topics without much variance. Could I give up feature stories and personality profiles? Could I sacrifice my comfy fireside desk at home and write from a generic cubical in some stuffy office? You bet I could!

Even before I accepted the job, I started seeing myself as a person who wouldn’t fear getting ill because she’d have insurance. I thought of the fabulous feeling I’d have actually being able to make and keep a budget, because income would be a regular, allotted amount. I could, I could…I just couldn’t do it.

Step away while you still can
Thinking about it, I realized that I didn’t want to be a “beat reporter.” That wasn’t my dream. Sure, I could talk myself into it. Who doesn’t want security and more money? But, deep down what I wanted to do was work towards getting my books published, to teach beginning writers and to continue the writing commitments I’d begun.

Accepting the full-time position would have been the answer to so many things—but all wrong for me. Sometimes, you have to step away from the small successes in life in order to grasp the reins of that which will help you more fully realize your bigger dreams.

Someday never comes
In similar fashion, I took a hard look at my other “writing” activities: writers guild meetings, critique groups, and so forth, all individually important and adding to my success as a writer. Unfortunately, as a whole, they also subtracted from my time to work on that which I really wanted to. I kept thinking, “Someday, I’ll have time to take that manuscript off the shelf and work on it again…”

Guess what? I checked the calendar, there’s a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, all sorts of days, but Someday isn’t listed. Someday never comes. Time for some tough decisions. I needed to trim many of the “writing activities” from my schedule so I’d have time to write. Sometimes to see the fulfillment of your greatest dreams—you have to steer clear of the smaller successes you’ve strived for. Are there any “good” things crowding your writing calendar that, if eliminated, might mean you’d have more time for your project of heart? Consider doing less in order to see your ultimate success.

Tama Westman writes the Off the Page column for Write From Home. As a correspondent and columnist, she publishes news articles, feature stories and her column, Cuppa Thoughts, regularly with her local paper, the Chaska Herald. She has served as the editor of the award-winning literary and arts magazine, Haute Dish. As a freelancer, her articles appear in several local newspapers and, nationally in The Gathering and Light & Life Magazine.

She teaches creative writing and poetry classes with the AHEAD program (Achieving Higher Education and Dreams) at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, MN, mentors high school journalism students and helps to edit the column of her 18-year old, British-bred cat on coolpetsites.com, Purrfect Gypsy – The Cat’s Eye View. She is married with two college-enrolled children, and keeps her balance with a cup of tea taken in the afternoon in her English garden. Her published clips can be viewed via her Web site, http://www.tamawestman.com and she can be reached at tamajoy@earthlink.net.









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