New work in Sein und Werden and The Cafe Irreal.
In six months, I will be done with the time-draining, energy-sapping fiasco known to the civilized world as "law school." Since September 2008, I have been going to my day job, taking evening classes in Contracts, Torts, Con Law, etc., while somehow finding a few hours each week (on a good week) to squeeze in my little literary endeavors. There has been a lot of sleep deprivation involved.
Somehow, I have managed (I think) to get through it all without turning evil. In fact, I think I am a better person now than when I started. But one thing I feared -- irrationally, I now realize -- when I embarked on this project was that law school would "ruin my creativity." This is something writers fear rather often. I know I do. One fears the effects of a competitive atmosphere on the Muse. I pictured her little winged form crushed under a mighty gavel of cold, hard reality.
Not so. In fact, going to law school has if anything caused my imagination to go even more happily off-kilter. This I think is partly due to the sheer rebellion of the subconscious over being subordinated for most of the daytime to analytical tasks. It could also be a reaction to the simple fact that the brain is doing more work. But above all else it demonstrates the importance of doing new things to have new ideas.
For a couple of years leading up to law school, when I was working a very easy, very boring (and badly-paying!) day job for the sole purpose of sustenance, I was starting to feel creatively dead. Having new ideas requires having a sense of hope, not just about one's writing but about life in general. I believe this is true even if you are writing about darkness and despair. Writing is an inherently positive, hopeful act. But I was getting to a routine where I felt too bored with my life to invent new worlds or characters.
That has changed, in a big way. I have met new people, and put myself in situations which I could not have imagined for myself before, and it is only just beginning. Furthermore, I will have a versatile job skill I can rely on for a wide variety of uses (to the extent that one can rely on anything in this collapsing economy).
Of course, I now almost completely lack for time to write -- almost. There has been just enough to scribble down some flash fictions, make dozens of outlines, and join a weekly workshop every now and then. Enough time to know that I can still do it, and that I am really looking forward to coming back into the literary world as a writer newly remade, with a better day job. And lots of new ideas.
I just thought I'd share that with any other writers out there. The Muse is more resilient than you think. The only thing that kills it is boredom.