Saturday, January 14, 2006

Getting It All Done

I read, and sighed, over my friend's blog from yesterday. Dena Harris, as you know, is one of my favorite writers.

I love my freedom and flexibility also. It is truly a gift few enjoy ... working from home. But I agree with her, there are those days when you think it'd be easier to go back to a 40/hour a week job, do what you're told, and come home. Problem is, I always found ways to bring it home with me. And when you're the boss, as I typically was, those 40/hour weeks turned into 60/hour weeks. Sixty hour weeks making somebody else rich.

I do understand her thinking, however. Being a writer and juggling that which makes money and that which does not is difficult at best. Because those projects that really aren't generating you a cent, do add to your credits, your resume, your reputation, and your experience.

But you still have to eat and pay the bills. I know what she means. I still have to write the stories, the novel, that will eventually pay me.

And I still work 60 hours a week, but now I work for myself. I get started the minute my coffee's been poured ... three minutes out of bed. My hair looks like a bad impression of a Dolly Parton wig, and I don't shower somedays until noon, (or later depending on the intensity of my work.) I can take a long lunch or no lunch and not get the cold shoulder from any "boss" or co-worker. I don't have interruptions, and I don't have to take phone calls. And if I want a long week-end away with my husband, I don't have to call in sick or run it by the "boss." I can eat at my desk, and I can sleep at my desk. I can play music and arrange my work to fit me, not some department head that needs it done yesterday. And thank God, I don't have to waste time sitting through mind-numbing meetings because some yahoo department head likes to hear him/herself talk.

But I don't knock off at five, either. I'm at it until bedtime. Usually 11 pm or later. I spend a lot of time on projects for other writing groups, writing articles, working on publicity, and I do a considerable amount of time on research. None of which pays me a dime. I'm lucky, I have financial support from a supportive husband who believes in me. But all these things, including writing this blog everyday and wondering if anybody's reading it, distract me from my passion ... writing my stories.

In my case, I'm fifteen years Dena's senior ... I'm working against time. Though I don't like to admit it. It all happened the way it was supposed to. My life experiences lend a richness and a connection to the written word that may not have happened for me at 30 or 35.

The question remains, how do we set the right priorities, get it all done, stop wasting time on stuff that doesn't matter, and get paid for what does? It's easy to repeat the old cliche, "learn to say NO." But how do you know what to say No to that will bog your work and paycheck down, and what to accept that will benefit you as a writer in the long run. If anybody has the answer to that question, I'll pay the bucks to hear you speak at the nearest writer's conference. I love to know.

Blessings to you and yours.

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