I’m not all author . . . and I suspect none of us are.
I’ve had the unfortunate opportunity of spending lots of time in ER’s, OR’s, hospitals, MD offices, and medical places in general the past week or so. (All is good, BTW.)
But it reminds me of a time in my life when I wasn’t KCrossWriting. I wasn’t author, creator, fantasy-writer, or small business owner. I was nurse Katie, healer of small children and comforter of terrified parents.
Of course, some kids called me monster. Husband still does.
My life as a nurse.
Most days I spent 13 hours on my feet. I had guitar hero tournaments with teenagers, was shoved by an angry, desperate grandfather, and administered CPR to a two year old who didn’t make it, sometimes all in the same shift. My life was filled with meds, syringes, and charge nurse meetings. I often didn’t eat lunch until 4 pm because I was busy reassuring a frantic parent who didn’t understand the terminology the doctor used. The haunting beep of a low sat alarm often woke me from a dead sleep. I worked for and with people.
And I loved it.
Life happens, however, and I spun onto a different trajectory that lands me right where I am now: Katie Cross, Author and Small Business Owner. That’s another post, another day.
So this last week, sitting in an ER, bantering back and forth with docs and surgeons about medications, vital sign trends, and pain control, put me back into nurse Katie mode. I knew what I was talking about. I felt comfortable. I felt good. The nurses and docs helping knew that I had experience in the medical world, and that quiet respect and acknowledgment felt awesome.
This, I kept thinking, is the world that I loved that I also left. Why?
What’s haunted me more than any other question is this:
Would I give up writing to go back?
After days of living on a few hours of sleep, long trips to the hospital, and the stress of uncertainty, I managed to wiggle in a few minutes to work on my current WIP The Ambassadors Assistant, if only just to get away.
Suddenly I remembered all the nights I left work as an RN just to climb in my car and scream or else I’d sob. I remember the frustration of dying children, or parents I couldn’t calm because the truth was just too ugly, and the awful havoc that working three nights in a row while only sleeping four hours in between wreaked on my body. I remember wishing I didn’t have to stretch myself too thin, or be the leader at 22 of nurses twice my age. The pressure, while somewhat addicting, was damning.
But in the midst of all the chaotic stress of being RN, I remembered I had also been a writer. I’d write stories and email them to myself during late nights to go over when I was more lucid the next day. I read constantly because I couldn’t stop. I imagined all the wheelchair bound, mentally delayed children that I worked with really living in a different world while the rest of us took care of their broken bodies. To escape the intensity of some shifts, I went home and buried myself in stories to forget.
So really, I was never all nurse either.
In the end, I am not all author . . . nor all nurse.
I’ll never stop being an RN, not really.
I’ll never stop being an author, not really.
I’ll always be a weird hybrid of the two. When I was a nurse, I sacrificed my time and emotional energy to take care of others instead of creating. Now as an author, I’ve sacrificed my experience as a nurse to fulfill a creative instinct.
And for now, that’s just fine.
How about you?
What have you sacrificed for your writing career? Time? Money? Relationships? A job you love? The security of a paycheck?
Lay it down, guys. Tell me what you’ve given up, and if you’d go back.