Tuesday, March 14, 2006

My (lack of a) Day Job Gets In The Way Of My Writing Career --Eve

Does anyone else have this problem? Or am I the only lame one who can’t get my act together? Never mind, I know the answer.

Three years ago, I quit my wonderful first grade teaching job to write full-time. After all, how could I write whole books, when there were lessons to plan, papers to correct, kids to save? No time! No time!

“I’ll write full-time,” I thought. Crank out a couple books a year, make $5000 to $10,000 per book… “Hey, that’s about what I make teaching per year. But now I can make my own hours, sit around in my jammies, and go running in between four-hour writing sessions…It’s BRILLIANT!” I thought.

Problem is, I DO make my own hours, SIT around in my jammies, and GO running from time to time, but I don’t get any WRITING done! My lack of a day job has created a lazy, not-exactly-in-shape, mush-brained slacker. How did that happen?

Believe it or not, when I worked full-plus time (I call it that because no teaching job is ever full time, it’s ALL the time…grading, testing, planning, conferencing, running around from 7am to 7pm at least.), I got more writing done. How was I so efficient when I never even had time to go to the bathroom during the day? Well, that was the key. I HAD no time, so when I did have free minutes in the evenings or weekends, I wrote. I saved those precious minutes for writing…ME time. Time to sit with my thoughts and love the pen and paper (couldn’t afford a computer) and create stories and wonder and daydream…all the things I longed to do during the hectic days when I was obsessed with bumping little Ashley from a 6 to a 7 on the DRA scale, and thus a higher reading group.

So here I am with the perfect set-up. Perfect home office…check. No responsibilities or kids…check. Plenty of comfy sweat suits…check. Enough money saved so I can afford to sit in the office in my sweat suits and write ALL DAY LONG…check. Energy, motivation, and talent to write books…um…UNCHECK.

I wonder what the heck I do all day. And it kills me that the more time I have on my hands, the less I get done. It’s been three years, so I should have had 3-6 books done and published already, right? And I can’t even finish ONE. What is my problem? I still don’t know. But I think I know the solution…

I need to get a day-job.

Happy Writer's Block!

-- Eve


Anonymous said...

It seems like I'm less productive too with more time. I get my butt in the chair, but then my mind wanders about what movie will be sent next in my online cue. So I check it, then I check blogs, and then so much time has gone. I've resorted to creating a schedule for myself.



Gregory K. said...

This is a common problem, Eve (made worse by the existence of the Net, I'm sure). Treating this non-job LIKE a job is the ticket that works for me. I don't say 9-5, cuz that kills the fun of having freedom, but I force myself in the chair for a set number of hours a day (not including a VERY SMALL BLOCK of time reserved daily for blogging and blog reading/net surfing). Course, I'm the only one checking in on that, but I'm a harsh but fair boss. Oh, and I still don't have to shave!

Miss P AKA Her Royal Cliqueness said...

Eve, I've also heard others say they got more done while holding a outside of the home full-time job.

I can honestly see how this could happen. But, I agree with Gregory's points.

The year I wrote and freelanced, exclusively, I kept a schedule and that kept me honest.

As soon as my daughter got on the bus I went into my office. My goal was to send 5-10 pitches a day to editors. Sometimes that took a few hours, sometimes it took eight - which meant I got half of them done during the day, the other half at night when hubby and kiddies were in bed.

My long-winded point - set page, chapter or time goals and that will get you on track.

But don't beat yourself up. Like it was pointed out, you don't want to treat it exactly like a 9-to-5...just kind of.

Good luck! I can't wait to have your problem.

Disco Mermaids said...

Thanks for the comments, Jessica, Freep and Royal Cliqueness...Yeah, I shouldn't be complaining, I know. I'm just feeling lame for being an unproductive (writing) slacker. I love the idea of keeping a schedule; problem is, I'm so damn distractable! Needing Ritalin, maybe?

Thanks for keeping me in line, y'all! (And Greg, I haven't shaved in a while either.)