There’s been a lot of talk about it lately on and off the WordPress world. For some reason, this seems to be a hot topic. I consider myself lucky in that I have met some great writers both locally and here on the World Wide Web. Until recently, I never felt that pursuing my passion for writing was a “logical” thing; logical and practical being what my family perceives to be important traits. Now, I think I have reached a stage in my life where I don’t really care what the people around me think and (ironically) I think the people close to me feel I have reached a stage in my life where following an impractical dream is acceptable.
Regardless of the reasons, my writing has become very important to me. My boyfriend has been very supportive, though I do sense frustration when I’m on a writing roll and he wants to sit down and watch a movie with me. It can’t be easy. Every free moment I get I try to jump on the computer to write. Unfortunately, it’s not as often as I would like.
Now you would think someone in my empty-nester situation would have loads of time to write. However, being an empty-nester does not mean I don’t have responsibilities. And that’s where the “procrastination” comes from.
First, there is my full time job that pays the bills. I am holding out that my boyfriend will one day make millions in the real estate market allowing me to quit my job and write full time. (Let me pause here to allow all my real estate friends stop laughing.) (K? Done now?) Until that day comes, someone needs to bring home the steady paycheck.
Second, there is our home. Between one boyfriend, one teenager, two dogs and two cats, our house is a never ending messy abyss. Someone has to clean the litter box, vacuum the dog hair, try to remove all the white cat fur from the furniture, dust, iron (work clothes for the full time job mentioned above), wash the bathrooms and pay the bills. Then add that we are trying to (slowly) remodel our home, which requires decisions (that I’m clearly not good at making) and searching for products and plans.
Third is our antiques business. This weekend alone we went to two shops to look for stuff. It took up two-thirds of my day. I have three pieces of furniture in the barn that need to be painted. The weather has been too cold and damp to get out there and work, but once the weather gets nicer I’ll need to spend more time outside and less time writing.
Forth is my gardening. Okay, gardening is my other passion and it ranks right up there with writing. We bought a rototiller this weekend and I can’t wait to get out there and start creating! I have already dragged my boyfriend through several garden shops picking out trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals to plant around the house, vegetables that will go in our vegetable garden and materials we’ll need for the two walkways and deck I want to build. (I’m nothing if not ambitious.)
Fifth is my reading. Reading is essential to writing. You have to do it. (Please twist my arm.) I try to spend at least one hour before bed reading and perhaps during my lunch hour if I’m not running around doing errands. I am finishing up one book, have another waiting in the wings, and two more that I expect to get soon for which to do reviews. Plus I have a list of at least a dozen more I want to read.
So that brings me to procrastination reason number six. Exhaustion. Some days work is so busy that all I want to do when I get home is relax. No reading, no writing. Nothing that requires actual thought. Come this summer that is where my gardening will come in as nothing relaxes me more than standing out in the yard barefoot, in shorts and a t-shirt, hose in one hand, glass of wine in the other.
On top of all this, I have other writing projects. This blog, for example, plus the blog I have for our antiques business. I handle much of the social media for both our antiques site and my boyfriend’s real estate, which means posting on Facebook and Twitter. Plus I am considering adding more accounts that are specific to my writing.
I used to believe that once I was done with school and once my children left the nest, I would have so much time on my hands I wouldn’t know what to do. I’m not sure what happened to that. In reality, I do have more time, and I am spending some of that time writing. But when I see friends who can finish a first draft of a novel in 3 months and I am struggling to finish half that in twice as much time, I feel frustrated. Perhaps it’s time to pull out those personal goals I made and start re-prioritizing.
What works for you? How do you juggle life with writing? I am always open to suggestions.