Two nights ago, I submitted another piece I had promised my editor at Matador. It was published today. It’s amazing how motivated I feel to write when I’m: a) accountable for meeting a deadline, b) getting my work published on a site that gets a good deal of web traffic, and c) being paid (money, the oldest motivator!).I don’t want to jump any guns just yet, but I’m starting to think I really have a shot at a future in travel writing if I keep working at it. I don’t know if I’ll ever be rolling in the dough, but I think I could make enough to get by. The thought of writing for a living makes me happy, regardless of income.
So I have been working at it. I come home from work actually wanting to write. It’s a huge thing as I’ve felt chronically plagued by writer’s block for years. I wanted to fancy myself a writer but I wasn’t actually writing anything. Now that I’m getting published, I’m gaining confidence; leads me to seek out continued reinforcement by producing more work. It is a cycle I want to get stuck in.
The more I’m honest with myself and am around other writers, it becomes clearer: artists as a group are psychotically vain about their own work, but also desperately insecure in its quality. We want to be told we’re good. Please, just tell us we’re good. Having my work accepted is that little pat on the back I need to keep my struggling ego going.
Last week, I booked a ticket to Madrid. I’ve been needing a vacation, despite the fact I’m only in month three of my job, so I got the days off approved and found a reasonably-priced flight from the 14th of February to the 20th. My friend Rob, who I met while teaching English there in 2014, and I will spend a leisurely evening that Wednesday night before hopping a train down south to Granada early Thursday morning. We’ll spend two days in Granada, then a night in Jaén before returning to Madrid.
I’m excited for both the break and the fodder; living and working in any place brings the mundanity of everyday life to the surface. Dublin isn’t home, nor have I seen all the city has to offer. Yet, falling into a routine wears away at the novelty. I may live in a foreign country, but stripped down, my life would be much the same in any other place I become settled. I suppose this is why I constantly uproot myself to keep the edge.
This trip will sharpen that edge and will no doubt leave me feeling refreshed. The weather will be warm and sunny. There will be cheap food and wine. I’ll feel a renewed sense of inspiration. I’ll write. Happiness is a simple equation.