Getting Used to the Writing Life

It’s been a month now since I quit my job. At first it was weird. I just kind of floated around, enjoying the lack of a schedule I had to adhere to and spending the morning napping with my baby after my son went off to school. I’ve had some time to adjust and attempt to work out a routine that gives me plenty of time to write, and a little bit of extra time in the evenings to do some freelance work to help pay the bills. I’ve had to enforce the “writing is my job” rule, reminding both myself and my husband that I need to take it seriously and treat it like work, regardless of whether or not I’m being paid for it.

I’ve come to the conclusion that writing at home is hard, especially before I implemented a schedule for it. I’m often distracted, and almost every time I plan to sit down and write I end up laying down for a “short nap” instead, only to wake up three hours later feeling like a failure. I tried writing in the evenings, but I prefer to do my freelance transcription work during that time, as I tend to be more productive. Plus, I don’t want my novel to be interrupted by a baby waking during the night to be fed. So I’ve decided on mornings for writing. This past week I’ve started going to the library a couple days a week somewhere around 9 to 10 a.m., staying until it’s time to pick my son up from school at 2:30. His school is right down the street from the library, so it gives me that extra push to stay until then. On the days I write at home – which, when it comes down to it, is a lot more comfortable for a lazy house cat like me who wears pajamas until 3 p.m. – I have to find a way to zone out and pull myself away from my Real Life surroundings. Sometimes I sit out on the porch, but I’m not much of an outdoors person, so I do prefer to sit at the dining room table. Plus, I love easy kitchen access. I’ve had a lot of success with music and a pair of headphones. The Epic Soundtracks channel on Pandora has lent a hand in quite a few epic scenes.

Writing for several hours at a time is difficult, too. I’d gotten used to having little-to-no spare time and getting short spurts of writing in here and there, chunks of no more than 1 to 2 hours. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to write full time before now. Although I’m thrilled to have this time, it’s certainly going to take another adjustment on my part to train my mind to focus for the entire time. I have “Oooh, shiny!” tendencies, and if my little baby bear starts making adorable noises in the next room, forget about it. I’m there.

But that’s the beauty of writing full time, isn’t it? I’m here in my home, with my kids and husband, in charge of my own schedule and productivity. Although quitting my job was scary, it feels empowering to finally take control of my life.

Though I have to admit I’m worried. (Am I ever not worried?) Having self-imposed publishing deadlines is brand new to me. I’ve dealt with submission deadlines for anthologies and contests, but publishing? I think the thought is still incredibly daunting for me. I can’t quite wrap my head around the idea that I have set an actual deadline to publish my novel in January. Meaning, if I can get my ass moving and finish it, the book will be out there. My story will be available, and people will read it. People that aren’t my husband or my sister. Exciting and terrifying at the same time, and I can’t wait to experience it.

I do expect that I’ll have to push the deadline back. Trying to get enough sleep, planning my son’s birthday party, and preparing financially and emotionally for the upcoming holidays have caused a concerning spike in my anxiety. I’m tearing through my Disaronno here, trying to get a handle on things. Not to mention, I’ve had some issues with the book cover, the details of which I’ll divulge in another post. But I’m not stating this officially yet. I’m still giving myself a chance to finish it on time. Not giving up on that yet!

This is still only the very beginning of my journey, but at least now I’ve stepped foot on the right path.