Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Incentive

Sorry for the spotty posting of late.

When I started this blog, I had hoped to blog 5 days a week, weekends off. Unless, of course, I had something to say. Honestly, in a million years I never imagined I'd run out of things to chat about. Hand me a microphone and I'll chat your ear off, no worries.

But lately I've kind of dried up. Or rather, the events in my life have been of such that they haven't been blog-worthy. I'm trying to avoid endless chatter about the kids or my excruciating routine of glorified bus driving because that's not what I want this blog to be about. I'm trying to stick with writing, reading, and the occasional forray into the world of entertainment. Except after a time, you start to wonder if it hasn't already been said. Unless I steal...um, borrow...topics from other blogs, I'm coming up dry topic-wise these days.

Too, I've set down my writing goals in a very precise format. Following Holly Lisle's guidelines on her The Magic of Goals workshop (bless that woman!!), I have a nice, concrete map which, if I follow it religiously, should leave me with a finished manuscript by the end of July and something to send out come fall, when school starts up again. I've committed to myself that these goals I've set are my top priority - after kid-care and RL commitments, that is - so the blog falls to the back of the line. Yesterday, I had every intention of posting, yet I found myself so absorbed in my world-building (yes, it's on the schedule) the day slipped away like silk.

Which, I suppose, means I need to structure my calendar such that I leave a portion of time for blog writing and reading. I do enjoy it. Except I find that hours slip away with nothing to show for them, and this is simply something I must stop if I hope to become a productive writer.

Monday night, when I arrived at my son's T-ball practice, two of the other mothers whom I've befriended were in a deep discussion about careers. One currently stays home with her kids while the other is a high school math teacher. The SAHM was feeling kind of blue because she'd just turned down an offer for a full-time job that would have meant some extra cash for the family, an outlet for her stagnating professional talents, and the chance to interact with grown-ups on a daily basis. But, the job was in a fairly distant suburb, she has three boys, one of which is still a toddler, and things weren't such that she felt she could take this job offer. The negatives outweighed the positives.

But turning it down left her with a healthy dose of regret, which is perfectly natural. At some point, all of her boys will be in school, and one imagines it's only reasonable that she'd return to the work force. After all, how does one fill those hours between 8:30 and 3:00 if one isn't working? Maybe turning down this bird in the hand isn't so wise, because who knows if there will be any birds in the bushes when she's ready to...go bird-hunting again.

So the question posed to me Monday night as I walked toward the backstop was if I planned to go "back to work" next fall, when my youngest enters the 1st grade. I didn't have to think for a nanosecond about it.

"No way!" I snorted. "I cannot wait until I have all day to myself."

The SAHM smiled. "Are you still writing?"

I nodded. "And next year is the year I make it my real job. When I get up in the morning, get dressed, and sit my butt down to do it without any interruptions. This fall, I finally get to have a real go at making it work."

Both moms nodded their heads in understanding.

"Besides," I continued, "by the time my husband starts asking me how, exactly, I fill all of my free time and suggests that, maybe, I might want to think about doing something to contribute to the retirement account and the kids' college funds and the necessities, like, you know, food, I want to be earning something with my writing so I can call it my job. I don't ever want to have to commute again, if I can help it. My goal is to work in my sweats and t-shirts."

To which, the conversation turned to passions and doing what you love for a living, and if that's even possible. Because no matter how much you love something, once you have to do it, it becomes a job. And jobs always have downsides, no matter how great they might seem on the surface. I already anticipate a major downside to becoming a professional writer in having to be creative on someone else's schedule. That's a tough one. Oh, and the fairly meager earnings of the majority of published writers. But I'm crossing bridges I get to...

Which is why, on Tuesday morning, I sat down and made a plan. I created a calendar with daily goals. I imposed my first deadline on myself. By the end of this year, I need to have at least one manuscript out on the street, looking for a home.

Otherwise, in the not-too-distant future, I'm going to be looking at resum├ęs and commutes and leftovers packed in tupperware for lunch. Not to mention dealing with annoying clients, only two weeks of vacation, and trying to juggle the chaos of working outside the home while managing the schedules of two busy kids from a distance of who only knows what. Not something I relish.

I've found my incentive. And it's bigger than simply having fun.

3 comments:

Candy Minx said...

Hi,

Just found your blog this morning surfing through blogs...and spent a lot of time kind of reading through most of it, and I enjoyed myself. I watch a lot of the same shows so it was nice to read from a different viewers perspective. I am way behind on West Wing though.

Good luck with your energy and goals. I have very similar incentives. I work at home part time, and would like to make it a full time opportunity, ha ha

Cheers,
Candy
http://gnosticminx.blogspot.com/

Marianne Arkins said...

Yay you!!

You've inspired me to go back and revisit my writing goals -- I've been stagnating lately.

I'm going to check back with you and see how your word counts are growing. Good luck at working toward working in sweats.

Now, that's a worthy goal (LOL).

Anonymous said...

I think plans are great and I wish you a lot of luck, but I do have one cautionary thing to say.

Way back in 1995 I decided I didn't want to work full time any more -- it was time to become a writer.

I won't bore you with 10 years of detail, but I work a part-time job at an office with the express intent that I'll have enough time to write 7 days a week. Surely, I thought, I can make it work -- part time at the office, handle the housework, cats, cooking, plants, etc.

And I do, but I'll tell you, it's not as easy as I thought to devote time to writing. There's always something mechanical that needs to be done and if I'm having trouble concentrating on the current material, big-time interference ensues.

I really had to adjust to the fact that the available tasks expand to fill up whatever time there is -- and you will too. Whether or not there are kids in the house, there will always be something that needs to be done for their time there.

So my comment isn't so much meant to say, watch out, don't have so many illusions, as to say, hang on with all your teeth and nails to that notion that you are going to WRITE. Because you will need that discipline -- if you're anything like me, you'll find that there aren't any more hours in the day with the house empty than with it full.

I took an online writing course from Writers on the Net in which the instructor said the most important thing is to make time to write every day no matter what -- even if you have to hide in the car for 20 minutes with a pad of paper and a pencil.

In my case, I have to hide from myself! :-)