Like many writers, I am balancing my as-yet unpaid writing efforts with my paid day job.
At certain times of the year, my job requires me to work overtime. One such occasion recently occurred, and at the end of my protracted work day, I found myself riding the elevator down with my boss, who is also an up-and-coming writer.
We got to chatting about how we would spend the rest of our respective evenings, or what remained of them. This morphed into talk of how we usually spend our evenings, in particular as related to our writing.
“I like to do my writing as soon as I get home,” my boss informed me. “I try to get two pages or however many words done right away, even before dinner. That way, I can relax and enjoy the rest of my evening.”
I found this fascinating to hear. In having already known that a similar abhorrence for 4am had necessarily rendered my boss a night time writer like myself, I still hadn’t realized how much our writing habits differed.
My boss treats his writing the way I used to deal with homework: immediately after school to get it over with ASAP. He treats it like an extension of his work day. And it works for him; he gets the job, as it were, done.
A (writing) life of leisure
When I come home from work though, the last thing I immediately want to do is more work-like stuff, i.e. banging out words on the computer.
Usually I’m hungry, so I start dinner right away. I also need to unwind from a bit: this involves listening to music, catching up on some blogs that I follow or my own blog, reading a book while eating dinner (I live alone so no one is being ignored by this behaviour), and tidying up my apartment.
It’s only then – after my dinner dishes are cleaned, my lunch is made for the following work day, I’ve washed and changed into lounge wear, unplugged my modem, and selected the appropriate “writing music” – that I settle in to spend the next two hours putting words on the page.
Since I don’t consider writing a chore (even when the physical process of finding the right words is a chore) and it’s something I look forward to, I don’t like to rush to get to it.
Part of this, I’ll admit, can be attributed to a penchant for delayed gratification. More so, though, I always want to give writing the space it deserves to take up the whole rest of my night should I hit a strong groove, without worry for the fact that I hadn’t yet made my lunch.
(And I would worry, because that’s the kind of person I am. I’d also scold myself while scrambling to do it the next morning, or while hungry the next day if I chose to skip it.)
But what about you? Do you do your writing as soon as humanly possible? Do you wait until the moment is just right? Do you consider writing something of a burden – one you love, of course, yet still something that has to be done, and is best done as soon as possible? Or do you consider it a joy of which you savour every moment?
The possibilities and combinations are endless.
Tell me about yours in the comments.