So, I am technically a full-time writer now.
I say “technically” because I need to get in touch with some folks back at IU and handle the wrap-up for my master’s there. But the only thing paying me any money these days is writing, so that’s the only actual job I have. Ergo, I need to figure out how to structure my life to make this thing work.
And because we live in the twenty-first century, the Age of the Internet, of course I’m going to blog all about it.
Expect more of these posts. I’m not sure how many, or how often; I have at least three I want to make, of which this is the first. Before I talk about structure, I want to talk about Things I Won’t Apologize For.
A while back, I posted on SF Novelists about “Writing as Work” — about the reasons why it’s hard to view this as an actual job. The corollary there is that I feel this stupid impulse to apologize for some of the things I do, because they don’t fit the standard model of what work ought to be like. I think it’s fair to say that the first thing I need to do is jettison that impulse, and accept the fact that this is my job, and this is how it goes.
1. I won’t apologize for the hours I keep. You know what? My brain turns on real good at about 10 p.m., and depending on how I’m feeling, keeps rolling until about 3 a.m. Not just in terms of creativity; heck, I have evidence my hand-eye coordination is better then, too. But it’s the creativity and discipline that matters here. There is no point in trying to fight that, not when I don’t have to. So yes: on days when I decide I don’t need the car and therefore don’t drive kniedzw to work, or all the time once we get our transportation sorted out, I sleep in until 11 a.m. or so. I refuse to feel like that’s lazy. It’s just me getting a good night’s sleep after a hard night’s work.
2. I won’t apologize for reading, or anything else that feeds my brain. In fact, when I’m done with this post, I’m probably going to go downstairs and curl up with Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette’s A Companion to Wolves. Because that? Is work. It gets me thinking about the story I want to write, and it keeps me aware of what’s going on in my field. If I read nonfiction, same deal. Even TV and movie-watching, in moderation, fit this bill. As long as I’m being mentally active about it, not just a mindless slug — as long as I’m turning it around and applying it to the words I produce — it’s a necessary part of the job. Not me slacking off.
3. I won’t apologize for “being lame.” By this I mean something very specific. It happens less at the moment, because I haven’t really launched Project Get A Social Life yet, but this happened all the time in Boston and Bloomington: it’s Friday or Saturday night, and I have the option to go do something social, but I decide to stay home and write. Sometimes because I have a deadline I have to meet — but sometimes just because I feel like it. I have a story I want to be writing. And then I feel like I should apologize because there’s something wrong with wanting to work. You know what? There isn’t. I have a job I love. And if it’s on a roll, I’m glad to hop on board, even if it means passing up something “more fun.”
Those are all the ones I can think of at the moment, but there may be more. In fact, I welcome additions in comments. From writer-friends especially, but frankly, any of you who find yourselves in a non-traditional relationship with your working schedule. What kinds of things do you not apologize for?