The Sacrifices of Writing

Like the lamb brought to slaughter there are many sacrifices a writer must make in the name of his passion. Many books on writing as well as those on success discuss this little issue that we either don't acknowledge, or take for granted.

Several years ago I spent my long commute too and from work listening to the audio book "The Success Principles" by Jack Canfield. There is a world of experience, knowledge and advice in this book as well as in Canfield's online and in-person courses but this one point regarding sacrifice stood out to me then. It comes back to haunt me now, in even bigger ways.

To paraphrase, Canfield says that if you want to succeed at something you must be willing to give up all the other things in your life that interfere with achieving that success. At the time I used work as an excuse for everything. And as I drove along the Northern State Parkway, part of that long serpentine, barely moving, snake of cars, I thought about how many pages of a novel or short story, or how many poems, I could write during those two to three hours of driving five days a week.

But of course that's an excuse and honestly I managed to write a good many poems, stories and novels even while I was working. But Canfield's words did sink in and whether or not I chose to take that particular item of advice, it was now ingrained in my mind and I couldn't ignore it. I addressed the issue by sacrificing my forty-five minutes of Morning Pages each morning to write three to four pages of my novel, or respond to a prompt for a flash fiction story. It worked!! I also sacrificed some television and reading time at night to write a few more pages or outline a scene or chapter.

It is now several years later and I am retired. Can't use work or commuting as an excuse not to write. My resistance to writing comes in the form of wanting to linger over a few more chapters of the suspense novel I'm reading, or watch art videos on YouTube, or go play in my many art journals. And I still hear that voice admonishing me to sacrifice all else in the pursuit of my dream to be a successful writer. And so art will have to be sacrificed in the name of authorship. In the name of becoming the writer I always dreamed of being.

With the help of the Diamond Valley Writers' Guild, and the more consistent attendance at a local critique group, as well as abandoning my art on most days, I can achieve success at writing.

If sacrifice is the name of the game, then I will lay my heart on the altar and do what I must do.


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