July 03, 2008
You know... I'm getting really tired of people thinking that just because I don't have a "real" summer job--the kind where you get up at 7 a.m., take a shower, drive off to work all grumpy and slave away for 9 hours a day for just above minimum wage pay--that I'm not working. I'm a WRITER dammit! When I'm not busy working part time for my grandfather (which is a couple days a week) I'm working damn hard to get this book idea hammered out, revise two pieces written over a year ago, and now I've got to do some freakin' research too. Top that off with a desire to get some personal sh*t down around the house (my bedroom hasn't been cleaned in months, my rats are starting to stink and I have YET to mail out my incentive package to my writing buddy--it was supposed to arrive by the end of June) and my days get pretty full pretty damn fast.

Let me explain my writing days to you:
  • I get up, usually around 9/10 a.m. I don't sleep well these days--I seem to be falling asleep around 12 a.m. only to wake up three hours later, unable to fall back asleep for about 2-3 hour OR can't fall asleep until 3 a.m.--so honestly, this isn't that late for me as mathematically it amounts to the same amount of time any normal person would be sleeping.
  • I shower. Its my coffee.
  • I check my email, read some blogs, update my blog/twitter, check in on the websites I contribute to, sometimes work on a piece for said websites, etc. As the Internet in my current humble abode is craptacular, this sometimes eats up 2 hours of my morning. I could cut this, but here's the thing: I approach it as my writing warm up. Some people go to the gym to exercise their bodies and get themselves going for the day. I read/write for a couple of hours to get the juices flowing.
  • I eat lunch at 12:30/1:00 p.m.
  • At about 1:00 p.m., I sit down to write. I set a timer for FIVE AND A HALF HOURS and write (which isn't nearly enough time BUT at least its some time, and I'm guess that when my "real" job kicks back up in August, that's about all the time I'll be able to write anyways). No freakin' T.V., no fun reading, no playing games... just writing.
  • At 6:30 p.m. I take a HALF HOUR break. I pee, I catch up with my mom (she's usually home by then) decide if she's making diner or if I am and re-read some of what I've written.
  • If I'm making diner, I won't get back to writing that day. If not, I'll work for another 2-3 hours (usually reading, revising and adding to what I've written that day).
  • Watch 2-3 hours of T.V. depending on what day of the week it is. I need a brain break and I love my programs.
  • 11:00 in bed. I usually use this time to free write or outline an idea for a chapter.
  • 12:00 asleep: the cycle begins anew.

The only time this schedule changes is if, like today, I've got other sh*t to do. Today, I need to clean my room, clean my rats, run to Ithaca to GET my package items together and mail them, procure a membership to the library so I can start researching some elements for my novel... and all of this will probably eat up my writing time.

Let me clarify something. Writing is a full time job, one that (currently) I am not getting paid for. Its not some little hobby that I've developed, its not me finding a way to be lazy about housework or other obligations. Its me doing what I KNOW I was born to do. It requires just as much dedication to routine and discipline as any other job out there. And despite talent and that stupid M.F.A. it's still freakin' hard. If I want to get good at it, if I want to move up the metaphorical ladder of success, if I want to get promoted, I need to practice it every single day.

So no, I CANNOT pick up your dry cleaning. Nor will I wait around until the mail comes so I can personally courier your pay check to you. No I will not plan your summer class for you. No, I cannot meet you for lunch, go shopping, or come hang down at the lake. I'm too busy WORKING.

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posted by Tina at 11:14 AM
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