Saturday, February 19, 2011

I Live to Write

Yesterday, I finished the breakfast dishes and looked around the office. Yes, my office and my kitchen are all in the same room. That’s fodder for another blog. Anyhow, everything was caught up. Wha??? What does that mean? Caught up?

I had time and I didn’t know what to do next. I found myself immobilized by an abundance of time. That ethereal substance we all have so little of, ‘I don’t have time’, ‘time just got away from me’, ‘If I only had more time’. I had a list of projects and still didn’t know what to do next.

Eons ago when I worked at a real job I punched a clock and I wished for a wife. Someone to do the little time consuming errands so I could have time. Time, I didn’t know what the heck I’d do with time but even sleep would have been a luxury. I organized, manipulated, listed in order of importance, I thought ahead, planned ahead, economized and utilized my time efficiently. I could get more done in one lunch hour than some do in a week.

Then I quit working ‘out’ and began to work from home. I planned to do a little bookkeeping for my husbands business. Primarily, I had the fantasy that I could take off my watch and write my novels. I’d stay in my pajamas, coffee in hand, answer my e-mail and write my books. We all know those stories some of us even know those writers. Life was good. I took off my watch. But, priorities get skewed.

The pajamas and the coffee haven’t changed but the business did. I’m answering the phone with bed-head, happy that the customer doesn’t know I haven’t brushed my teeth yet. The real juggling act has become filtering out the time it takes to do the job and still being able to do the work that I love.

When someone says they like working at home I purse my lips and wonder, ‘do I’? I still have a job, but I get to do it in my pajamas. I’m at home but my fantasy hasn’t turned out like I planned.

At a recent writer’s conference we were advised to rethink the phrase, “I can’t, I have to work.”
When someone says that, the conversation is over. When we say, “I can’t, I have to write,” the whining, wheedling and justifications begin.

Our task is to filter the job from the work. I live to write, my job simply takes time. My struggle is to separate again the time for writing and the time for the job. What tricks do you use to filter your writing from your job?



LizbethSelvig said...

Ah, my dear friend,
So you've written in words the age-old question. For me, it simply comes down to discipline--of which I actually have very little. I am wonderful at making "I have to first..." excuses. And I waste the precious time I've been given quite often. I don't have the problem at the moment of having a job other than writing--but I still have to separate housework, family obligations and shiny object syndrome with writing time. How do I do it? The only time it works is when I just plain tell myself everything but writing is an excuse (or fear). Those days are good ones!

Great, age-old topic!! Thanks.

Boone Brux said...

Amen,sista. For awhile I thought I was the only one who thought about writing All The Time! It's good to know there are others who struggle with the balancing act. Hmmm, maybe that came out wrong. Misery loves company? No, that's not what I meant. Anyway, you're not alone:)

Great post!

Juniper Bell said...

DeNise, I totally relate to everything you've written here! Working at home requires a lot of self-discipline, and most of all it demands that you take your writing seriously. I don't know what that's so hard, but it is! For me that's the key. But it's easier said than done.

Thank you for a great post!