There I was, striving to strip a chapter of my work-in-progress of unneeded description and backstory so I could read it to my Tuesday class without getting pummeled. In the middle of it, I received an email from a friend/client looking for a quick turn around on an email marketing message. Easy peasy, right? Except his draft was so unclear, it meant conducting a phone conversation with him that ended up being five-times longer than the little writing project. And he is nothing but exacting. We’ll go back and forth on this piece three more times before it’s just right. While I worked on that, another email arrived…this time from an editor looking for a 1,200-word feature article for a local magazine, which meant driving an hour south to interview an interior designer. Yahoo, and um, when is the deadline?
When I first started writing seriously, unemployment delivered hours to write. I got up in the morning, worked on blog posts until my eyes blurred, then I walked, two miles, three miles, four. I returned home, edited my daily essay and pressed publish. Oh, the luxury.
I promised myself I would never again let life chain me to an office for forty hours a week. But that would indicate I had control over life, and let's be honest. Who does? As a result of one of reality's hiccups, since March, I’ve working full-time again. The good news? In this particular case, "full-time" means less than forty hours, thirty-two to be exact, and it’s a five minute commute. But still. Now, I fit the writing in at 6:45 a.m., for forty-five minutes, five days a week, and whatever I can cram in on the weekend. I get home from my job in the afternoon and try to sit down and get more done but distractions arrive in the guise of errands, meetings and dinner to prepare. And when there is paid writing on the line, it trumps everything. This week, the WIP languished while I tweaked the email and drafted the article and felt like I was cheating on my lover.
Probably every writer reading this feels the same push-pull I do. I neglected Middle Passages last week and I refuse to miss two weeks in a row. As I work on this post Saturday morning, there are windows to wash and closets to clean and a WIP jumping up and down in the background, reminding me I have so much more work to do. Somehow today, I'll get the gardening and grocery shopping done. But maybe, just maybe, I'll wait on washing the windows.
They may be filthy, but when they are clean they are just a surface sparkle. When I carve out time to write for me it validates who I am deep to the core.