For an author, the butt in chair perspective is synonymous with the idea of dedication: that you sit down and do your work whether the muse shows itself or not, whether you feel like writing or don’t feel like writing, whether you have a pile of dirty dishes or not, you sit and you write.
Unfortunately, or fortunately depending upon your opinion, writing is not a solitary act. The job requires you to do more than simply splay words. You have to be involved with those around you. You have to live life. You have to do more than write.
Over at I Miss You When I Blink, Andrew Maraniss comments on chasing a creative dream while holding down a day job. He says, “There are times now where I sit and stare at the book and wonder how it really happened. Mainly it just came down to making this my sole focus outside of work and family. Any spare minute early in the morning or after the kids went to bed, I spent on the book.”
I have a lot of people say to me I am really super successful. I thank them awkwardly. My bank account often tells a very different story, but that is me equating success to money. And that is a dangerous game to play.
I finished my bachelor’s degree in under 25 years. I completed my master’s on time. I’ve written two novels, working on a third. I have two very beautiful kids. I have a strong, tight relationship with my wife. I live in New England, which has been a dream of mine since high school, and how I got here to New Hampshire was really not something planned for or expected. And oh yeah, I’m teaching at the college level, which is also something I have always wanted to do. All of this is, a far cry from my truck driving and pizza delivery days.
When I look back without examining the contents of my wallet, I am truly amazed. I call it manufactured luck: the incremental moments that you work towards achieving your goals. It’s butt in chair, fingers on the keyboard; butt in chair, brain in the classroom; butt in chair writing learning doing. Driving truck, working third trick at an all-night gas station, flipping burgers, taking the crappy paying job, engaging in meaningful ways with the people around you.