Monday, August 29, 2005

Writing as a Career

I have to admit, I’m a slug. I do not like work. I’ve never actually had a job I enjoyed. My current job (stay at home mom) leaves plenty to be desired. So when talk comes up about treating my writing as a career, my eye starts to twitch.

Suzanne talked about treating writing like a career on her RTB column. She made some great points. But I hate thinking about my writing as work. I’ve tried scheduling time to write, but I feel the yoke of oppression when I do so. Yeah, I should take it more seriously, but I do not have the ability or inclination to make it my number one priority.

Anyone with small children can tell you that they have a way of making the world revolve around them. They have a sense for when my mind and time are occupied with something else and so they strike. Today my toddler found her milk on the counter, climbed up and tried to fill her own cups with it. I had milk spilled all over the counter plus 4 cups half filled with liquid. This is typical of her behavior. My older ones know when I’m writing because that is when they feel it necessary to get into knockdown drag out fights.

I’m not using these as excuses for not writing, they are just things that take priority over my time. I still manage to get my pages in. I have scheduled my day so that I have certain chores I do on certain days. Today it was the day I clean and mop the family room. It’s done and now I have the freedom to write as much as I want barring my children’s interruptions.

Anyway, for me to think about my writing as a career at this time is a practice in frustration. My family is not going to understand the importance of what I’m doing until I actually sell. Hubby definitely has the attitude that if it doesn’t make me a dime, it must be a hobby. Not a particularly sympathetic way of looking at things, but I think it is a fairly common view from non-writers. He is not going to be real excited to come from a day of work and fix dinner so I can write unless there is a contract involved. And that’s okay; it is just another hurdle to work around.

But it can be done. I think the obstacles in my path make me a more efficient writer. It forces me to focus on each and every word on the page. I do very little in the way of revisions because I don’t have the luxury of going back and making change after change. When I write, it had better be damn close to what I want because my opportunity to make drastic changes could fly out the door at anytime.

A side note…
I’m going to leave the blogger comments on until I can figure out what in the heck is wrong with my haloscan. It’s a bit awkward but feel free to use whichever works for you.

5 comments:

Michelle said...

I feel your pain. Children definitely throw a wrench into the writing plans. But we manage somehow, don't we?

Kelly Parra said...

It's tough, so you do have to find your own rythmn and manage writing when you can. =)

LoryKC said...

It IS hard and I haven't done a great job of scheduling myself.
I have more time now with one in preschool along with the other in school...but then I think it's more fair (and EASIER) to do the grocery shopping without them, or other errands where we have to stand in line.....so it makes the rest of life easier on them so they can relax at home after school. Of course, those relaxing kids that were playing nicely turn on me as soon as I start typing---so maybe I'll go back to taking them to the store if it means I can have a few hours to write alone.
One day at a time, right? ; )

Tess said...

Rene - I know what you mean about careers. I worry about that with my own writing - selling SOUNDS great, but can I do this for a living? Like, real deadlines and everything? Hmm. And I don't have children while my dh (a writer) totally gets it.

OTOH, there are so many stories rattling around in my head, that if I can make money off them, maybe I should.

What's happening with your haloscan?

Dana Pollard said...

I view my writing as one of those part-time careers where your boss really doesn't get peeved if you don't show up kinda things...

I not only have three children of my own, but I've lost my mind and watch two boys as well. Believe me, time to write is somewhat non-existant unless you MAKE it.

When my husband worked for Sam's Club and worked 100+ hours a week he used to ask me, "When are you gonna sell that thing so I can retire and you can just sit and write all day?"