Monday, August 31, 2009

New rules for the game

I have three jobs. I've had three jobs since the beginning of June. Sometimes I have four, but usually that means I've had to abandon writing so I'm still technically only at three. Not all of these jobs pay, and those that do don't necessarily pay well. (Obviously or I wouldn't have four of them.)

For the past two months: (1) I made coffee. (2) I sold books. (3) I wrote. (4) I did graphic design.

I've spent the past two weeks in the midst of a shake-up. I gave notice at (#1) after returning from Montreal, and today was my last day. (Although, to be fair, Thursday past was my last shift.) However, before leaving (#1), I was offered a freelance position involving (#4). So really the universe is just balancing out.

What this all amounts to is simply put as I don't have a lot of time to spend sitting staring off into space, which happens to be a vital part of any creative individual's existence. Instead, time needs to be budgeted while I work on locating those extra hours in the day that everyone else has already found.

To write with any kind of consistency, I need a level of concentration that I can no longer flick on with the snap of my fingers. Having two part time jobs and the erratic hours they produced plus crow-barring in design work didn't leave many chunks of time that could be set aside for writing, because there are other things one has to do in order to keep functioning. (I haven't discovered how to live on less than 6 hours of sleep. If you have, please share the secret.)

But the departure of (#1), opens up the daytime for (#2). Since (#2) doesn't grind the life out of me, I'll still have energy in the evenings. I'm hoping my Monday, which had been part of my weekend for the past two months, can be used to accomplish the additional client I've taken on for (#4).

Part of the stress of (#1) (#2) and (#4) was that I wasn't writing. So while I was getting a paycheque every week, I felt like my actual career was going nowhere. This had nothing to do with the waiting or the inexcusably long response times. I wasn't producing new material, which anyone who wants to have a career in publishing has to do.

So I've made myself some rules: Two hours writing or 1000 words each night. Until something is finished. Then I start finishing one of the two other things that were started this year. When they're done, I start something new and finish it.

You are most welcome, nay implored, to hold me to this.


Karen Mahoney said...

I think the 1000 words per night is very sensible and mostly doable. Depending on Life and Other Things, sometimes I struggle with it, but it's a good target.

I'll be joining you once I get started on something new.

Leigh said...

Good rules.

When you comin to LA for a visit, missy?

Chandra Rooney said...

You're more than welcome to, Kaz.

I don't know, Leigh. Probably not until next year. :(

John Evans said...

See, order can be a good thing! ;)

In all seriousness—Getting priorities straight and planning things out = awesome. Hang in there!

Rachel said...

Yes. I agree and I'm there with you. I let my 1000 words a day drop off last week when some stuff came in. This is a good reminder and reason to hope back on the writing wagon.