What I Would Do in a Perfect World

I’m talking here about a subjectively perfect world, not a world in which there is no more war, crime, poverty, and so on. I’m talking about what I would do if I could do whatever I wanted, unencumbered by the need to spend most of my time in survival mode, struggling to earn enough money to pay for rent and utilities and transportation and food and clothing and all the other things we need to stay alive and comfortable.

I would be a writer, just as I am now. I would wake up early, just as I do now. Every morning, before anything else, my first task would be to compose my words. The ideas for these words would not be dictated by anyone else. They would be my words. I would set a word count of five hundred to a thousand words a day, just as I do now, and when I reached that word count, unless I was in a flurry of inspiration and had to finish a thought, I would stop, even if the words took only a short period of time to write and most of the day was still before me. I would stop because I had accomplished that particular task for the day, knowing that tomorrow I would sit down and open the tap and continue the flow. In the meantime, the essence of whatever I was working on would continually be refining itself in my subconscious.

If I had just finished a project and was ready to start something new, I would go through my idea files until something ignited a flicker of inspiration; I would take this flicker, fan the flame, and feed it fuel by writing five hundred words to get it started. If it began to go somewhere, I would continue it the following day. If it seemed to hit a dead end, I would set it aside along with other unfinished work. From time to time I would revisit it to see if it had begun to sprout new life.

Often my daily word count would not take long to accomplish. Since I have got up early, I still have much of the day before me. I would spend this time on mundane tasks such as exercise, shopping, cooking, and cleaning, but there would also be plenty of time for activities that stoke the creative fires such as travel, research, reading, and socializing. In mentioning travel in particular, I mean to imply that I would be able to carry on a schedule like this anywhere, so I would take off and roam the world for weeks or months at a time.

In the afternoons, after my nap (for decades I have taken a short nap after lunch), I would spend some time refining first drafts I had set aside for at least a few weeks so I could view them from a fresh perspective while proofreading. I would also conduct business associated with my writing such as corresponding with editors, formatting stories and books for self-publishing, and managing my website and other social media outlets. In the evenings I would relax and read, stream movies, and socialize.

It all sounds idyllic, at least to me. Most of these things I do already, with the exception of socializing (because of the pandemic) and traveling for weeks or months at a time. I have even begun to compose my five hundred words first thing in the morning, and for the most part it has gone well. I love those early morning hours when my mind has not yet become encumbered with the cares of the day. I have found that since I have made a habit of composing my words in the morning before I do anything else, my subconscious and conscious mind has picked up on it and most of the time when I sit down at the keyboard the words are all but bursting to be let loose onto the page.

The only problem is the survival thing. Since I don’t yet make enough money from my creative work, I currently have to spend much of the rest of the day looking for freelance jobs and writing essays and articles that will appear on other people’s blogs under their names, not mine. Still, I have a goal, and I’m working towards it the best I can. Who ever really achieves perfection anyway?

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