When I talk to people about my job and about being a writer in the same conversation, one question commonly comes up.
“Do you have time to write?” they ask. They ask with sincerity, because they want me to be writing, and they ask with trepidation, because they’re afraid I’m not, and sometimes I think they ask with envy, because they can’t always make time to write and don’t wany anyone else to, either.
The truth is yes, I find time to write. It’s not a lot of time and it’s not frequent, but I write. I write in my blog, I write emails to my family (but, please note, I am admittedly the world’s WORST email correspondent), sometimes I write poems, and I write a lot of garbage on Facebook that I probably shouldn’t.
Also true is that I don’t know how much other people write. By that, I really mean how often.
I don’t keep a regular writing schedule because my schedule is already fairly unpredictible, despite the better efforts of my light OCD tendencies. I know that my most “creative hours” are between 5 pm and 7:30 pm, right when I’m walking Arden, making dinner, and rotting my brain with Nintendo (read: Nofriendo) games. (It’s also the time immediately followed by Top Model, Project Runway, etc.)
When people ask me when I write because they think I don’t have any time to write, I think back on graduate school.
I think back on working a live-in job, very reminiscent of being a governmental au pair in many ways, where I was paid to work 20 hours and worked upwards of 40 while going to school full time. And then the years following that job, while I was a full time student working three jobs (retail, teaching, online teaching). After graduation, I worked a minimum of two jobs, with some added freelance work mixed in, for the next two and a half years. Then, when I wasn’t working two jobs, I was working full time while going back to graduate school full time.
I was also in two long relationships during these years, one of which was a live-in relationship with a man who was gone so often I wrote enough poems to fill two full books. My family moved to the state, my brother had kids, I launched an online poetry magazine, I blogged daily or almost daily, and I wrote grants for myself. I started working out five days a week. I continued to watch as much TV as I always had, and I traveled about once every two months.
If you don’t want to write, you can find a lot of reasons not to do it. In fact, you probably shouldn’t spend your time writing what with everything going on in your lives. I probably shouldn’t. I should play with my dog more, I should cook more food, I should keep my apartment cleaner.
The silver lining is that the insanity of my life, combined with a hot online calendaring system and OCD, has turned me into an amazing time management master. I am more likely to write a poem when I sit down to do so than when I have two weeks of vacation with only “writing and reading” planned. I need the kind of chaos of this life and so I’m grateful for it. It points me toward things to write about, or, better, it encourages me to flee my own life and write about other people.
If you’d like to learn more about my time management secrets, come to my seminar.