W is for…Work

I was intending to write about how taking walks helps support my writing, but I covered that already in my post about the outdoors. Instead I’m writing about how work supports my writing.

Balancing work and writing has been a struggle after coming back from sabbatical. Starting in June 2013, I had 15 months away from my job (as an associate professor in the campus library), where I spent almost all of that time writing. I’ve been back to work at the library since this past September, and I’m just getting to the point now where I’m starting to feel comfortable heading into the office every day. (Just in time for summer vacation!) Such is the nature of sabbaticals.

Sabbatical was amazing. It was wonderful. I wish everyone could experience it. It helped me see how I’m not essential to the work of the library. The library can get along just fine without me.  I value my work as a librarian, helping students connect with and critically use information, but that work will continue with or without me. I am an important part of that work but again, I am not essential.

On sabbatical, I learned that writing is my career. It may never support me with a full time income, but it is my career, my passion, my vocation. While I think carefully about the ways in which I fulfill my commitments to my institution – I do not want to shortchange the library, the institution or my students – it is my day job.

Work supports my writing by giving me time. I have a flexible schedule, I have sabbaticals, I have a tremendous amount of autonomy. It may not be my ideal career, but for now it gives me the stability, especially through health insurance and income, that frees up time to write.

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