The image on this medallion represents Janus, in Roman mythology the two-faced god of beginnings and endings. Anyone who engages seriously in writing while trying to carry on something resembling a normal life knows the feeling of being dragged in two directions at once--at least two, sometimes more.
My medical career spanned thirty-six years in practice, twenty-six in a private setting and ten as a professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. I've been retired now for over seven years and have been writing on a more-or-less regular basis for six. There was a time of transition after retirement, during which I added several more to the hundred or so professional papers I had published. I also co-wrote or edited a couple more textbooks. But as retirement "took," and I moved into this new phase of my life, I devoted less and less time to the teaching of medicine and more to learning what amounted to a new career: writing. Now, instead of attending a medical meeting this fall, I'll be teaching a course at the American Christian Fiction Writers meeting. The transition will never be complete, of course. Just as a professional football player will always follow the game (and often be tapped for his expertise to comment and enlighten others), I'll always have an interest in medicine. But now, if you ask me what I do, I'll say I'm a retired physician and educator, now writing full-time.
Of course, the "full-time" is a lie. I'm retired, but like most retirees, my life is as busy as it ever was while I was a member of the workforce. Not much has changed except the things that keep me busy. I still feel like Janus, pulled two ways and often three or four. But I keep writing.
Many of you who read this blog are writers, although most don't depend on it for your livelihood. You hold down one (or more) full-time jobs, while writing when you can steal the time. In his book, Telling Lies For Fun And Profit, Lawrence Block refers to members of this group as "Sunday writers." His advice--and it's quite good--is to write when you can and not get discouraged because your time is limited. Very few authors are able to support themselves from the earnings from their writing. But if you're like most of us who spend our spare moments at the keyboard, you write because you have to. It's an important part of your life.
So if you feel like Janus right now, balancing driving the car-pool, keeping things going at work, trying to squeeze out a few moments for writing, know that you're not alone. That's the situation with most of us. Don't be discouraged. Write on!