Distracted Writer: Turns Out, the Day Job is… Work

Oprah Winfrey Quote: "Every day brings a chance for you to draw in a breath, kick off your shoes, and dance."I talked for a long time last night with a fellow author in another state, one of those great conversations that left me feeling energized and inspired and thinking about my writing career with renewed vigor. There’s not much I love more than a candid, frenzied conversation with another writer. Writers get my special brand of crazy in a way rivaled only by Hubs.

When we hung up, I wanted to pull out my laptop and churn out 1000 words in my WIP. I wanted to outline three other things I’ve been thinking of starting. Schedule that workshop I’ve been wanting to teach. I was not tired. I was the opposite of tired!

Mind spinning with ideas and untapped potential, it finally occurred to me to glance at the time: after 10:00 p.m. How can it be so late when I am the OPPOSITE OF TIRED?!?

But there were several things left to do before bedtime, and Hubs and I had not talked face-to-face for more than 8 minutes that day. Plus, only 6.5 hours from that moment my alarm was set to go off this morning. Then I had to get up and work out (I’ve missed two previous opportunities this week so it was time), get myself ready, kids to school, and off to work.

Ah, WORK. The distracted writer’s old nemesis.

I’ve been working in a full-time corporate communications position (a.k.a, a big girl job) for three and a half months now. And I actually like it. Lots. I like the people I work with, I love the challenge of the job itself, and it turns out I am capable of going a whole week without sweatpants. Who knew???

Working full time after you’ve already committed your heart and soul to being a writer, however, does have challenges. The logistics are settling in more now, but at first the transition was exhausting. We had NO IDEA how much household stuff I was routinely handling during my time at home without even noticing (also, perhaps, one reason I was having trouble getting things done). We have a 1.5 year old puppy who’s used to plenty of activity, so we had to make arrangements so she wouldn’t be stuck in her crate for 10 hours a day. Don’t even get me started about trying to cook healthy dinners at 6:00 for kids who need to be in bed at 7:30.

And at least twice a day, sometimes more, I have the itch.

It’s often when I am driving, occasionally when I’m in a meeting or doing one of the less pleasant tasks at work (hey, every job has them, even the great ones). The itch to pull out my own laptop and sketch out that scene, or explore that character, write a summary for a new concept.

The plotlines where I was blocked in September now look like golden opportunities: shining in the light like the boy you didn’t like until he started dating Mary McMurtry, who sat next to you in U.S. History and for some reason had six middle names and a side ponytail. Damn you, Mary McMurtry.

By the time I finish at the day job, get home to have dinner, do the bedtime thing, handle whatever crisis is at hand at home (or sometimes, finish up with a crisis from the day job), etc. I am EXHAUSTED. By 9:00 or 9:30 when things are setlted, I can no more write that plotline I was so inspired by on the morning commute than I can explain why Mary McMurtry had so many middle names.

Making the most of every day: it’s the challenge faced by so many other writers, artists and entrepreneurs who do other stuff to pay the bills. And I will conquer it. One system, one early morning, one hundred words at a time.

 

 

 

MJ Pullen

M.J. Pullen is an author and the mom of two boys in Roswell, Georgia, where she is absolutely late for something important right now. Find her Romantic Comedies, including THE MARRIAGE PACT trilogy, in bookstores everywhere; and the "Mom-Com" EVERY OTHER SATURDAY for digital readers.

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    1. Distracted Writer: Don't Quit Your Day Job - MJ Pullen

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