Dirty Sinks and Being Professional

Not Actually My Sink

My sink is kind of a mess at the moment.

Don’t ask about the bathtub.

It’s tempting to attribute these to my quasi-bachelor status at the moment. But you’d be wrong.

As I write this, I currently am finishing up An Inheritance of Stone, Leslie Anderson’s book of poetry, continuing to work on Alethea Kontis’ collection of short stories, finish the print layout for What Fates Impose, laying some groundwork for the Steampunk World kickstarter, planning events for CONTEXT, trying to plan/conceptualize the not-a-podcast podcast, writing blog posts, and working on two different eBook conversion projects for books I’m not publishing.

Plus I have a full-time day job, some friends I don’t see nearly enough, 30-90 minutes a day moderating on MyMineCraft, a dog and cat who insist they’re starving for food and attention, and most importantly, my significant other. (Hi honey!)

I don’t want to cut out anything in the last two paragraphs. Especially all the publishing stuff. I really enjoyed spending a few hours last night making the What Fates Impose print cover look awesome. I’m thrilled to be able to promote poetry, and to set up some events to bring it (and writing, and fiction) to a wider audience.

And this got me thinking about the much-maligned post last month about what it means to be a “professional”.

Because while I’m not quitting my day job (I’d like to keep paying my mortgage, thanks) and I’m not ditching my pals (I see them rarely enough) and a bunch of other things that got held up as the criteria for being “professional”…

My sink is a disaster area.

I recently mowed over an overgrown flower bed to let the grass take it back over. When I bother to mow.

You’re nearly as likely to find my clothes in a basket as put away.

I understand the bristling at “you’re not a professional (or full time) writer unless…” lists. I bristled when I first heard an author say that during one of his seminars. Because that kind of arbitrary distinction devalues people by making comparisons.

It can be useful when you are examining how serious you are and assessing your priorities. It can be useful in assessing when you’re procrastinating from what you want to do and what you find yourself doing.

Last night, for example, I found myself perusing organizational software and forms and PDFs, thinking that I could reorganize all my publishing stuff… and then realized that I was “productively” procrastinating from what I wanted to do that day – get the cover done. And today, I could put away my clothes… or I could start sending out digital rewards for the Kickstarter. And instead of playing video games all day on Saturday, I’m helping a friend move and spending time with my significant other.

That is the useful lesson we can take from anyone trying to tell us who is professional and who isn’t. Assess yourself. Assess your goals. And see if your actions serve your goals. Then focus on actions that actively take you closer toward your goals.

I will probably do the dishes though. Because my sink is nasty.

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