Saturday, August 21, 2010

When Writing Takes a Backseat

There are a million things in a writer’s life that can interfere with what we consider our main job - writing. Sometimes those other things cannot be ignored, or ignoring them comes with a price too high. For those of us still dependant on a paycheck from our day job, the demands of that day job and put a crimp in our writing.

So it is that such a time has arrived in my day job. The busiest two weeks of the year have hit and this blog entry is the first writing I’ve done in six days (since a very profitable morning last Sunday). And it looks to be another week before I will have a chance to write again. It’s a hard thing, especially since I’m just getting a good start on my next project. But it can’t be helped. It’s either work and eat and have a place to live or write and be homeless. And I do consider myself lucky that it is only this one time of year when I loose almost two whole weeks (not just of writing, but of everything) to my job while the rest of the year it is the other million minus one things that interfere.

But it makes me thing about priorities. While writing is a job that many of us want to make a living at, there are things in life that are more important at any given time and we need to prioritize to make sure that we don’t alienate our loved ones or risk our existing livelihood while at the same time, we have to write and push forward. It is a challenging balancing act, but one that must be done.

For myself, there are not many things that I will let writing take a backseat to. My job, my spouse, my friends, etc. take precedence, but that does not require my every waking moment. I have found two things that let me balance things out. First, I give up some time in front of the keyboard as needed. I like my life and I don’t want certain things to change so I make the effort. Second, there is more to writing that typing out the words. There are things to work on in your head and that is something you can do almost any time. I use every opportunity when I am not actively engaged to think on my current and future projects. Those boring tasks at work can come alive when you hit on a wonderful idea for your next chapter or next book that can occupy your imagination.