Cindy R. Williams
Writing IS a real job.
This statement doesn't seem to make sense to civilians --civilians being those who don't have the writing gene. Those that haven't been bitten by some kind of bug that contaminates brains and turns everyday normal people into alien beings known as writers.
I'm frustrated with others and myself about my writing.
Have you had any of the following things happen to you?
Sitting in my room at my small corner desk, flying on the back of one of my dragons, one of my almost grown children enters my room and says, "Mom, since your not doing anything, can you _____? (fill in the blank.)
How about this scenario: I'm in a writing frenzy. The words are flowing out in a most wonderful way . . . when the phone rings. Do I answer it? I'll just check the number to make sure it's not one of my kids or hubby. They could be in trouble. No, it's not one of their numbers. Oh, I better answer it. It could be important.
"Hi Cindy. Are you busy?"
"Um who is this?"
"It's Bonnie, silly girl."
"Uh . . . Bonnie who?" It amazes me when people don't identify themselves on the phone, aside from family and close friends.
"Bonnie _______." She sounds quite annoyed at this point and I think, how would I know your voice? I see you at Church, but I've only spoken to you once or twice on the phone in the past five years.
"Oh hi. Yes, I'm busy trying to finish a scene I'm writing." I take a stab at showing myself and my writing some respect.
"Oh, that's nice. Listen, I'm at work. I know you don't work and since you're home, I need you to run over to my house and get the key to the Church from under my front mat and return it to the RS President. I forgot to do it and she may need it."
Thoughts run through my mind like, can't you return it after work tonight? Can't you call the RS President and let her know the key is under your mat if she needs it today? I'm happy to help others, but this doesn't sound like an emergency that has to be done right this minute so I answer, "Sure, I would be happy to after I finish this scene." At least I'm trying to act like a real writer and balance helping others.
"On no. I want you to do it now. That way she won't be inconvenienced. She's awfully busy you know."
At this point, I give up. I don't have the back bone to assert that I am also busy, that "writing" IS my work, and that I will be "off work" in an hour and would be more than happy to take care of it then.
A writing teacher once cautioned me to treat writing like a job. Set my hours and stick to it. If I worked in an office for a boss, I certainly wouldn't cheat on my hours, take personal calls, surf the internet, change the wash, vacuum, weed, do the dishes, re-arrange the furniture or any number of things that I'm temped to do as I write. She suggested that it's important to have enough discipline and respect for myself to treat my writing like a professional. If I believe in myself, others will follow.
I read Stephen Kings book on writing. He goes to his desk early in the morning to work on his WIP, then eats lunch, often takes a short nap, then edits and does other things related to writing until around 5 PM. He works at his writing everyday. It's his job.
Now as I write this, I realize, shame on me. Writing is IMPORTANT and I have not acted like a professional.
10 notes to self:
1. It is up to me set my writing hours and be disciplined.
2. I need to take control of those things I can and not get worked up by the things I can't so that I don't become bitter.
3. It is up to me to explain to my family what writing means to me. To let them know I need two hours a day for my writing which means I'm there for them 22/7. Unless they have broken an arm or sprouted tentacles, please don't disturb me during my writing time. Then STICK to this myself. It will probably take a few times of asking them to wait until my writing time is over, but they will soon realize I am serious about my writing.
4. Go the to library or even Starbucks for my two hour write time. (By the way, Starbucks has a divine vanilla bean, , zero coffee, zero caffeine, frappuccino.)
5. Ask family and friends not to call during writing time.
6. Then stop answering the phone during writing time.
7. Choose to not check emails during writing time.
8. Choose to leave house and yard work alone for those two hours.
9. Focus on my writing and be my own best boss and work hard for two hours.
10. Take a break on Sunday's.
I'll let you know in a couple of weeks how it's going, that is after my two hours a day writing is done.