A Changing Perspective: Writing and Work

I sit at the computer desk, motionless. Fully dressed for work, but mind remaining in neutral with no thoughts beyond the now. The flavour of strong coffee fills my mouth even as the sweet scent of last night’s tea lingers in the emptied cup. All is quiet, all is still. I wish to remain motionless until a time of my choosing, but I know it cannot be.

With an internal sigh I stand and make my way regretfully to the bathroom and the waiting toothbrush. In the adjacent bedroom my wife’s alarm goes off for the third time, pulling her from sleep and me from waking-slumber.

Time is not relative, it marches on regardless. The bus travels on its schedule, not at my whim. Work must be attended, regardless of my mood or desire.

I have approximately 17 hours a fortnight which is ‘uncommitted’. That factors in a reasonable amount of time spent doing chores, occasional socializing and precious time with my wife. (It doesn’t factor in time for exercising, which highlights another problem).

That’s a maximum of 17 hours, mostly divided into two-hour chunks at the end of a workday, which is not my most productive time. I already rise early, so extending my day at either end is not possible.  (I realise that for some people, 17 hours a fortnight is a luxury).

At times I have lamented – nay: complained and whined – that my writing time should be so dominated by my occupation which pays the bills. I have seen it as a distraction from what I would rather be doing.

This attitude could be both good or bad. At its best the desire to “break free” could propel me toward the near-mythical publication success. More probably, is that I could grow to resent or have bitterness toward my occupation.

My current reality is that while I want to write I still need to work. To do both well and have a healthy attitude means accepting that fact.

Besides, until I am squeezing every ounce of productivity out of those 17 hours then I shouldn’t be wishing for more. (And I have a way to go with that still).

How much time do you have to write? How do you balance your recreational and occupational commitments?

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4 thoughts on “A Changing Perspective: Writing and Work

  1. I totally get you. There’s so many other things I’d rather be doing, but my day job’s the reason why I’m able to enjoy them in the first place. I try to be thankful, but sometimes I wish I could just read, write, and pursue my hobbies all day.

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  2. For me there is one primary way to judge my productivity – # of words written. Not # of hours I sit in front of the computer to do it – but # of words on the pages. I don’t have the benefit of the regular paycheck but I do count my blessings during this season of writing. Your season will come. 🙂

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