Sometimes writers get obsessed with their work. They do NOTHING but write. They don’t eat, sleep, talk to people, and only begrudgingly go to the bathroom. And that’s only because the alternative is pissing their pants. Which isn’t fun.
But sometimes I run across writers who feel like it’s either life or writing. Have friendships or be a hermit. Watch television or be an artist. Have a life or be published.
It’s not like that at all. It’s not either/or. Writing a book takes discipline and passion and yes, horrible amounts of time. For those of us with a full time job, writing more than a couple of hours a day can leave us feeling like we have TWO full time jobs. Those of us who have to do our own housework, that’s MORE time. It’s no wonder we get invited to an all night dinner-movie-drinks thing and want to bail. We feel like we don’t have time for that!!
But we do.
It’s priorities. Writing is important. So is spending some time out of your house with other people so you don’t go insane. You can do both. But you can’t write for four hours, work for 8 hours, play with the dog, watch five hours of television, have coffee with a friend, help the kid with the homework, cook a gourmet dinner, AND clean your house, all on the same day. You can’t. This will drive you insane.
If you want to write everyday, you have to take some time away from something else. Let’s not take time away from sleep because as an insomniac, I can guarantee it will come back and bite you in the ass. You know, rendering you LESS productive.
So maybe this means you don’t vacuum everyday. (What kind of person does this anyway?) Maybe it means you watch a little less television. Maybe it means you only read one book a week instead of three. The time has to come from somewhere, but you DO have time.
I used to feel like I had to write everyday because I heard some famous writers write everyday. Maybe they do. That’s also what they do for a living. Most of them are also married and have help with household related crap.
Does this mean I can’t write everyday without being super stressed out all the time? No. I can write everyday. I can get up earlier. Write before work. Come home and watch television. And go to bed at a reasonable hour. I can.
But I don’t have to. I like writing at night. If I’m going to opera that night, you know what, I can write another night. If I need to run errands and clean the house or celebrate a birthday, I give myself permission not to write that day either. It takes the pressure off. I can write if I want, but I’m certainly not going to have it looming over my head all day. That’s no way to be productive.
The other things in life are what keep you sane so you can write. They inspire you. They relax you. They connect you to other people. I’m a writer first, but I’m not just a writer. And there is nothing wrong with putting everything aside once and a while and watching Netflix all day. Just saying.
In other news, today is my birthday. ^_^