“To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labor, to be given a chance to create, is the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy. As everyone else, I love to dunk my crust in it. But alone, it is not a diet designed to keep body and soul together.” Bette Davis.
Many of you may only know the name above from the Kim Carnes song Bette Davis Eyes. But this was a woman who reached the pinnacle of her acting career and held on to it until she died. She lived to make movies. It was her passion, her tragedy, her ultimate joy above all else, and she let’s us glimpse in to the agonies of her private world when she calls it her ” lonely labor.”
As writers, we are mostly a solitary breed. Yes, many people collaborate on books, but for the most part, the names you see listed in an author’s index and on the book shelves of your local stores are singular ones. That translates to the writer spending large amounts of time alone, just writing, editing, thinking, editing, typing and editing some more. Some of us are lucky to do this as a full time job. Many of us, like me, have to go to paying jobs each day until we are afforded the opportunity to stay home and write full time without worrying about how things like mortgages, kid’s tuition, electric bills and groceries will be paid for.
I am lucky enough that I do not work full time at present. I go to a paying job 3 days per week and then two weekdays, and whatever time I can eek out on the weekends is devoted to writing. I often do “sweat over my lonely labor.” But to me it is the penultimate labor of love. If I never get published,if no one likes what I write, I will still do it because it is the one thing in my life that gives me joy above all other endeavors. Writing, to me, is the meat and potatoes. Publication would be the gravy. Delicious, but not necessary.