Monday, January 28, 2013

By the Day or By The Deadline

This is going to be a fairly short post by my standards.

Here it is: I write every day. There are exceptions. If I’m traveling, I might not get any writing done that day. In most cases, I’m still writing, it’s just more along the lines of plotting things out in my head. But if I am actually in the car for ten or so hours (not really all that uncommon for me, because I tend to like to hit the road for short trips to nowhere in particular) I can almost guarantee that by the end of the day my brain is in no sort of shape to actually write. On a few occasions I’ve allowed that family medical emergencies should stop my writing. That’s about it, with the exception of the occasional sick day as explained last week.

Listen, I’ve had a few people call me a “Machine” which I take as a compliment, because I get a lot written. That’s maybe in part because I’m a fast writer, but it’s also because I write every day, with the aforementioned exceptions. I write because I like to write, and I write because it’s my chosen career. It’s how I pay the majority of my bills.  

I’ve had my share of chats with writers who only work when the mood strikes, or who write for an hour, sit back and watch TV for a couple of hours and then maybe do some editing. I can’t work that way. On an average day I write for at least three to four hours, regardless of whether or not I’m doing the day job—as and I work fulltime, I am almost always doing the day job. I need to clarify that the numbers mentioned are my writing time, not my editing time or my business time. Writing time. Editing, Facebook and all that other stuff has to be added to those numbers.  For me it’s just a matter of discipline. I can always find things I would probably prefer to do. God knows I love a good movie, and I’m a TV junkie. I could spend hours cooking (I’m a moderate foodie) and I love a good conversation, but I also need to work. I need to pay my bills.

It’s always possible that my rules will change. I might find that special someone who distracts me to the point of ruin. I might decide that I would rather take up whittling. It’s not probable, but it is possible. When I was married my wife understood that writing was my career and that it had to be done. I always made sure I had time for her, and for the writing and for the job. Where did I make up the difference? Sleep. I learned to go full steam ahead on remarkably little sleep and with a little extra coffee in my life. Hey, I work at Starbucks. I’m good with the coffee.

Deadlines come and go. I tend to make most of them. I also tend to find new things to write between deadlines, because the ideas aren’t the problem. The catch is making the time to write down what’s in my head.

I can always make the time.

Keep smiling.


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