I love writing. I love creating the characters. Developing the plot. Asking myself what happens next. Scrambling to find the right words to express my ideas. Everything about the craft of authorship appeals to me. But unfortunately, with a relatively recent entry to the professional publishing world, I can’t write one hundred percent of the time. Hence the “other career.”
My “other career” is full time and very demanding. I’m not going to go into the nitty-gritty details, but I will say that there have been days where I’ve arrived at work at 9:00am and not gotten home until after 7:30pm. Then, when you take into account my husband/evil genius, two very demanding cats, an overly affectionate 150lb. dog, and a 10-month-old godchild, it doesn’t leave a lot of time for my writing. In fact, most of my writing is done in small snatches of stolen time early in the morning, late in the evening or on lunch/coffee breaks at work. (To be perfectly honest, I’m typing up this blog post while scrounging a fifteen minute lunch).
It’s been difficult. I know my limitations. I’m not one of those people who can get up at 5:00am and get anything resembling coherency written before work. So I’ve found ways to manage my creative energies while not neglecting my other career. Somehow I’ve managed to churn out three published novels, two more which are still in consideration and more ideas than I have time to manage. It’s become a rather precarious balancing act, and I’m not sure how successful I’ve been. I can’t count the number of notes scribbled into the margins of otherwise pristine meeting minutes about so-and-so character or plot point. Entire chapters have been typed (and often humorously autocorrected) on my iPhone while waiting for a presentation to begin.
I can’t vouch for the quality of these hastily scribbled notes or points, of course. More often than not I find myself looping back to them and wondering what the hell I was talking about. Or trying to figure out obscure references that probably made perfect sense to me before. One such note references “the yeti thing.” I cannot for the life of me figure out what “the yeti thing” is, what relevance it had in the grand scheme or things or even what project it was meant for. If it wasn’t memorable, it’s probably not a huge loss. Yet I can’t help but think to myself that someday far in the future, it’s going to strike me. “Oh...that yeti thing.” (It remains to be scene if the thing in question is awesome, merely interesting or unspeakably horrifying).
For the most part, it’s a system that works. With the recent completion of my newest novel, I’ve been bouncing around ideas for what I want to work on next. Do I want to continue my Carina Press Society series, or finally follow through with the high fantasy novel that’s been bouncing around in my head for several years? Or something entirely different.
Interestingly enough, I’ve discovered that I’m actually less productive at work when I don’t have something I’m working on. Maybe because the creative juices that get flowing when I’m working on my writing have a significant impact on my ability to effectively perform my other duties. Maybe I just need those stolen moments and quick snippets to get me through the day. (One thing’s for certain, though, I need to get working on something quick, or people are going to start to notice).
So how about you? Are you struggling with a similar situation? I know that for me there never seem to be enough hours in a day, and eking out even the smallest amount of time can sometimes be the creative equivalent of eating an elaborate ten-course meal with one of those nifty knife-spork combinations. If you have ideas or suggestions, send them my way. Who knows? You might be able to help me find those extra minutes in my day so I have time to elaborate on my notes and avoid future yeti-related phenomenon.