It’s a proven fact in my life: I get more done creatively when I’m working. I work at a YMCA camp, doing dishes and prep cook stuff. The days when I’m scheduled to go in, I get up, put in some hours on my book, take care of errands, and go in for my evening shift.
On the days that I don’t have work, I take naps, go on instant messenger, do nothing, tell myself I’ll get to my book later. I think the downtime is good for sure, and that my mind, heart, body and spirit need the rest and relaxation. I just find it a bit odd that I get my best creative work done when I’m also working.
I mean, ultimately, I’d love to make enough from my writing to be able to quit a day job. In fact I’ve had times in my life where I did quit day jobs in order to focus on writing. Sometimes it’s been helpful and I’ve gotten tons done. Other times it hasn’t. So maybe the correlation isn’t so direct.
I am very strongly considering (I should probably say planning on) going back to school. I’ve never had great study habits. I worry a lot about how I’ll balance school, work, schoolwork, writing, other fun things, and relaxation and time to breathe.
I guess for now, the point is to get as much done with my book as possible. Actually, it’s one of my days off, and writing this post makes me itch to get back to revising my work. I’m on the chapter I was most afraid of. It’s too long, too scattered, not held together by much, and it needs a lot of fixing. I think after this chapter, the book is mostly there, and done. That’s not to say it doesn’t need some re-working, it does, but I think it’s more minor. Everyone who’s read the manuscript really sailed through the last half and thought that was pretty complete. Just gotta get over the hump.
“Oh Well” – Fiona Apple
- First Draft Writing vs. Tweaking and Re-writing
- Sept 15, 2007 – Target Date
- Driving Blind Under a Desert Moon
- Who do I write for?
I have the same experience — no idea why.
Hi Kevin and Alison,
It really is a strange thing. It’s like too much time can be a dangerous thing. Even now, when I’m working but just going in a few hours a day, I’m not getting a lot done outside of work. I think routine really is the key, and something I’ve never been good at, ever, so maybe it’s the imposed routine and structure that work or classes create? Maybe that’s the key.
It can be too much though. I know that when I’m taking eighteen credits of science and labs (labs take up soooo much time) and working, I feel like I barely have time to breathe, let alone write. Sometimes I do though. I started this blog while finishing up organic chemistry and physics and a few other classes. Hmmm.
Last year I was made redundant from my job, and I left work brimming with ideas for my first book. Things were fine as long as I was writing that book, but as soon as it went for editing I began to drift. I lost all concept of routine, and looking back wasted weeks of free time I’d love to have at my disposal now! Since the New Year I’ve started doing some house cleaning work, and find the same as you Emilia. Work days have routine and structure, and are so much more productive than days off when I get up late and drink far too much coffee!