I try to work on my manuscript a little bit every day, but in the weekend I get to write for hours on end. By Sunday evening I should even be able to see a noticeable difference in my word count. When I have been writing on a new chapter, it should have went up (fun fun fun!), if I have been rewriting, it should have gone down quite a bit (less fun, but necessary).
Yet every Sunday evening, when I look at what I’ve really achieved… well, it kinda makes me feel like sticking my pants down and moon the hell out of everybody who spent the whole weekend chilling by a poolside sipping beer. Especially my boss, who expects me back on the job the following morning.
It’s not that I mind working hard. Writing doesn’t really feel like work anyway. I also don’t mind the fact that writing is a very slow process. But it could be a lot faster if I could write full time. Combining a full time job and chasing your writing dream tends to get exhausting after a couple of years.
What’s more, when I typed the words “work-writing combination” in the heading of this post, I immediately thought: This should really read “The work-writing-housekeeping-social life-sports combination. And that’s assuming you don’t have kids.
When applying the finishing touch on a manuscript, or scrutinizing the proofs, I don’t mind letting it all slide a bit. Gaining a pound or two from living on fastfood and skipping exercise, letting the laundry pile up for a couple of weeks, even ignoring Facebook and party invitations for a while. In those cases I can even take a few weeks off from work. But writing a whole manuscript takes about two years, at best. I don’t have enough clothes and dishes and certainly not enough money (and unfortunately not the metabolism either) to let it all slide that long. So I combine. And hurry. And schedule. And get very, very frustrated sometimes.
Actually I did earn a bit of money from my first novel. It didn’t blow up the charts, but for a debut novel it sold quite well. I could just about afford to quit my job and pursue my writing dream for… say… a year, if I’m very careful and my car doesn’t break down. But then all of my savings would be gone. And then, even if my publisher likes my new manuscript, it takes some time before the money starts coming again. Unfortunately you cannot live on dreams alone.
Even though I have a nice job – I’m a journalist – sometimes my fingers are just itching to type ‘I quit’. Especially during those long, dreary meetings, or when working overtime. Or on Sunday evenings, when I don’t want to close my laptop and check my schedule for the week to come.
Sometimes I wish I wasn’t always so responsible.
I’d love to hear about how you are combining work, life and writing? Did you postpone the first two to pursue the last? Did you install a steady writing routine? I’d love to hear about it!