July 9, 2017 by Renee
For many of us, writing is more like a hobby, in terms of where it’s placed on our list of priorities. That’s okay. It’s not usually a money maker, so we need day jobs, and we all need lives (Notice, I said “need” and not “have.” You must go outside sometime and do things with people.) So, finding time to write is always a struggle. It seems like everything is conspiring against us more often than not, and it’s hard. You need proper time and attention to produce quality fiction, right? Of course, I’m right. But what if that time isn’t what we feel it needs to be?
Sometimes it’s good to whine a little. Not a lot, but enough to release some of that tension in our poor brains. The risk that comes with such things, though, is that it becomes easier to slip into that mindset of “It’s not fair.” Once we do that, we start fulfilling the old prophecy, or however that saying goes.
Finding a way to fit something you love doing into the things you have to do (and might love as well), is all about attitude and action, kids. 2017 has had a rough start for me. First, we lost our beloved animals, Dill (cat) and Harley (dog) within 3 days of each other.
They’re so cute and I miss them so much I just want to die. Sigh. Anyway, and then we adopted a couple of kittens to fill the void of silence. (what have we done??!!)
They had fleas (I’m SO neurotic about fleas it’s not even funny) and Freya, the white one has had issues with allergies (did you know cats have allergies?! I did not) and ear infections. We almost got that under control, and I said, hey, I need a day job. I love writing full time, but it’s not so great for the bank account. I mean, I’ve done well, but it’s unpredictable and there can be long periods between pay days, so I got a job. Just part time. But the day after I took said job, we got a puppy.
That’s Quinn. Cutie-patootie, eh? Anyway, I forgot what puppies were like. Think babies that can run around and destroy everything while pissing and shitting everywhere. We love him, though. If he started sleeping all night, I’d love him so much more.
And THEN our old dog, Bear, got sick. Fleas. He’s allergic to them. So, a couple of bites turned into a skin infection, and a trip to the vet revealed an ear infection as well. Oh, and arthritis.
Poor old guy. A bag of meds later, some special shampoo and whatnot, and he’s on the mend. Still not crazy about the puppy, but he’ll come around, because he’s the best boy of all. Just look at that face.
Where have I had time to write in all of this? That’s the thing. There’s always time somewhere, but I find it hard to find the right “mood.” I think I’ve managed about two or three days a week where I write “properly.” The other days are spent on Netflix, cleaning, or just editing works in progress. Sometimes I stare blankly at the computer screen and wonder about the meaning of life and why I can’t just sleep all day. Not a terrible thing, because I’m still productive, but also not how I usually operate, so it’s been making me a little anxious.
The point of all of this is, I see a lot of you posting your stressful stuff on social media. Nothing wrong with that. I do it all the time. I get how you’re feeling and I know it’s tough to see how it’ll ever be “easy.” (Sad truth: It probably never will be.) Sometimes I see a desperate plea for attention, because you’re tired and fed up and frustrated and your writing is suffering as a result, and you just want someone to acknowledge your feelings or whatever (sorry, I’m not good with that stuff). One or two of you talk of giving it up, “for now.” Others just want a place to vent. It’s the giving up stuff that makes me a little twitchy.
If you love something, never quit. Find a way to make it work. There’s always a solution. Sometimes, it just takes a while to see it. Look at me, being a Positive Patty. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Anyway, I’m part of a cooperative of authors, which requires my time on a daily basis (sometimes every other day, but don’t tell the others). We have several things on the go at any given time. I write and submit short fiction wherever I can too, so I have to keep up with that, which is surprisingly time consuming. I’ve also tried ghost writing recently, and made a commitment to a project as a result. It doesn’t require a lot of my time, but still, it eats away at the precious little I have. Let’s not forget I have to market my own books. Write. Do family stuff. Clean. Work. Take care of the zoo we’ve acquired, and still have “me” time here and there. I do it. It’s not always what I’d like it to be and I think about quitting writing entirely at least twice a month, but I do it.
And so can you. If you love it, you owe it to yourself to figure it out.
Now, in the time it took me to write this, the puppy tried to eat my shoe multiple times, had to go outside twice, got attacked by a deer fly (fucking annoying little bastards), tried to run off with the curtain, and almost choked on a chunk of yarn. He’s sleeping now, so I’m going to work on this alien cannibal thing I’ve been messing with for months. I should feed the cats first… and make sure the teenager who is still sleeping has a pulse.