Perhaps one of these days I’ll earn enough money as a novelist to live comfortably off that income. I’ll get up in the morning, brew some coffee, pet the cat and sit down at my desk – still in PJs perhaps? – and write.
Yeah…that day isn’t here yet.
Most of us writers (wait…should I say most? Yeah, I’ll stick with it.) Most of us writers don’t do so full time. We have jobs and relationships and maybe kids and lives and all that sort of thing. We work in offices or behind counters or in restaurants. We turn down dinner invitations, watch our friends have social lives, wait for movies to come out on rental but never rent them, DVR our favorite television shows for the rare block of binge watching, and calm pissed-off pets who are fed up with their empty water bowls and dirty litter boxes.
And we do it all with a smile, mostly, because we love to write. We have to write. It’s our identity and our passion. Well, at least it is for me.
To get specific, I’m a communications director at a university. It’s a great gig, and I get to do a lot of writing in it, even if it is mostly journalistic in nature. So I sit at a desk, in an office, staring at a screen from nine to five. Then I get to go home and sit at a desk and stare at a screen until bedtime (on a good writing day, anyway). Of course, that’s after dinner, maybe some laundry, housekeeping, a workout, etc.
Does it sound like I’m complaining? I sincerely hope not. I actually feel quite blessed about this dual “day” career and budding other career I’m balancing. But it a struggle at times. There are days that I’m so over staring at a screen during the day I don’t write a single word when I get home, which subsequently bums me out for not making progress on whatever book I’m writing. So I skip the next day’s workout or social invitation to devote to writing, which bums me out for not exercising or seeing my friends.
Wait…I am complaining, aren’t I? Sorry.
There are posts all over the place offering tips on striking the appropriate balance between Writing Life and Non-Writing Life. They’re mostly common-sense stuff like keeping a written schedule, getting up a little earlier, setting specific writing goals, and so on. I’m not interested in sharing or seeking tips on how to keep the balance. I’m more interested in knowing if other writers are up against these same issues. Just knowing I’m not alone in the battle is enough to keep my head up.