So far, I’m really loving the writer’s life, or at least the parts of it I’ve experienced. I love working alone, getting to write about what I think is important, deciding for myself what things are important to do, which ones constitute goofing off, and how much goofing off I actually need to stay happy and productive. I love working at home, not feeling like I’m on display in an office – I don’t have to listen to someone else’s music, to loud discussions of sports I don’t watch, or to someone else’s phone conversations. I love being able to eat whatever I want, when I want it. I was going to say that I love being unscheduled, but that’s not right – I love getting to choose my schedule to a large extent, to decide if I prefer jumping between projects, going off to shop or work out in the middle of the day and coming back to work later, working early or late. I love that I can decide what kind of desk I want or if I’m more comfortable sitting on the sofa with my laptop in my lap or lying on my stomach on the floor (actually, it’s hard to type that way).
I realize that it’s very possible that I’m enjoying this so much because it’s new; I always do love starting a new job, before any part of it has gotten boring or annoying. There are also a lot of less pleasant parts in a writing life that I haven’t experienced yet: dealing with queries and submissions; waiting for months to get any response; trying to fit in writing around a day job, and of course, the always-popular worrying about money. I’m hoping to be able to avoid that last one, mostly, but of course that will eventually require full participation in the next to last one, the Day Job. (In my case it may just be The Job, as opposed to The Hobby Book.) It may also be that I’m enjoying this so much specifically because I know it’s temporary; unless and until we get around to doing that year of travel, this may well be the only months before retirement when I won’t have to deal with showing up on time, staying later than I want to, spending most of my waking hours in an environment that’s too hot or too cold or otherwise doesn’t fit me, sharing space with assigned officemates, or else frantically search for my next job. I’m really not looking forward to doing submissions – not so much because of rejections, but because of the slog of it all and the long periods of waiting for any answer at all.
But a lot of it is real, too; I don’t like sitting up properly at a desk, and they never fit me well anyway, and I don’t like feeling that I’m on display all the time. I like sitting sideways in chairs, or lounging on a sofa, or sitting on the floor. Also, offices don’t work well with my eating patterns; I do like to eat breakfast, but not until I’ve had a couple hours for my stomach to wake up. For the last two years, I haven’t had access to a refrigerator or microwave, so I’ve been limited in what I could bring in for lunch. Also, I haven’t been able to buy some things I like to eat, because of being in a different country. I like being able to knit when I’m on the phone or thinking rather than typing.
Of course, my schedule isn’t completely up to me, because life isn’t like that. The best and most productive thing for me would probably be to get up when Ted does, work out right away, shower, write for a while, do errands, and then write some more. I don’t need to be rigid about the schedule, but I think generally being on one will help me to stay productive. The afternoon session might be interspersed with making dinner, if it’s something like a stew that takes a while, or with a break to do a little cleaning or other stuff around the house. I can’t do that, though, because we’re in an apartment and I’m worried that the rowing machine might annoy other people if I erg too early, so right now I get up with Ted (or rather, when he leaves), write for a bit, then erg and shower. Sometimes there’s other stuff I have to do or want to do early, so I get to the writing later – today I had to go drop off the check for earnest money, because we’re making an offer on a house, and it made sense to do other errands then. So I got up, showered, did some revising, went out, came home, erged, ate lunch, and then got to the writing (and now I’m taking a busman’s holiday from it while writing this).
Excuse me while I go trim my toenails, just because I can.