Okay, before any of ya'll start thinking this is some green and twisted blog on erotica, ha! let's set the record straight: This is an essay about a dilemma.
Now that we've gotten that prickly bit of sensitive matter cleared up, let's proceed, shall we?
My dilemma is simple. Yet not. See, I'm a writer, but I'm also a photographer. I've been interested in both professions for most all my life, practicing at both, taking classes in both fields, selling both. In the past 10 or 15 years I've tended to concentrate more heavily on the writing aspect of my split personality. Until lately that is. And therein lies my big Kosher dill.
I love writing. It's in my blood and my soul, but I'm frustrated with it. At least the fiction side of it. I've had good success at non-fiction writing, sold a good deal of it, both as a freelancer, and as an on-staff crime reporter. But as far as fiction goes, I cannot easily measure success. Oh, there's the two books I've completed, that's something right there. I mean how many people can truthfully claim they've written two books? But as far as contests, contracts, agents, editors, I claim zip.
On the other hand, my successes at photography keep piling up. I have enough ribbons to decorate half my office wall. I sell framed work at a coffee house. A local gallery wants my work. I've had assignments from newspapers. I've taken high-school senior, family and baby portraits, covered weddings and lately even did a fad "Trash the Dress" shoot. Fun. And profitable. And when I see my work on display, like Paty's portrait on her website (the one which pops up beside her blog comments) or see the book cover of Genene's new release she designed with the photo I took, it makes me feel a little burst of pride. Which throws the fermented cucumber in my face again: Photography is in my heart and soul too. And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that it helps pay the electric bill.
It also doesn't take 10 months to complete a photo assignment as it does to finish a novel. The biggest dill of all this is the time factor. With a young family, my creative time and my computer time is often limited to nap times. At the moment I am not having the time and/or the energy for both writing and photography, and frankly, it bothers me.
Now let an agent or book editor show more than a passing interest in my work, and watch my creative writing juices erupt. But in the meantime, I'm afraid the writing is stuck in the back of the frige like that last lone pickle in the bottom of the jar with only pieces of garlic, bits of dill weed and milky pickle sludge to keep it company at night.
So, here's the question: Do any of you out there have similar dilemmas? Paying work vs. dreams? Or other things pulling you in directions other than your chair and keyboard? Please share.