Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Transitioning into Full Time Writing, Pt 2

I've now been a full time writer for a little over three weeks, if you ignore my son's wedding and then going to Canada for a week.

Weird incidentals:
The indoor dog, Chase, is flipping out. She's now realizing that I'm going to be home all day (for the most part, except shopping excursions), every day, and it's turning her into a hyperactive maniac who now races back and forth wherever we go. Going to the garden? She runs the ever-shortening distance a dozen times to my one, ears laid back for extra streamlining, mouth open for more air, tongue inside mouth to reduce drag. Going back in the house? It's up and down the stairs and then back and forth across the deck and then she leaps and bangs her feet against the sliding door because it needs to be opened! Oh, and she scratches at the door not only to be let out, but to let me know that one or both of the cats need to be let in.
Because apparently that's why I'm staying home. To play with her and the cats and to let everyone in and out. It's Chase's job to make sure I stay on top of that.

I'm organizing stuff at home to make things more efficient so I can maximize my writing time. It's true! Weird example: now that I'm home I scoop the litter boxes at least once, if not twice a day. It makes the house more pleasant and makes the litter last longer. (I have decided this is true. Don't burst my bubble!) I realized it would be so much less tedious if I had one of those flip-top garbage cans, just a wee one, right next to the litter box. Then when it's full, I can take the used litter out. Found one with a little bucket inside, handle and all. Mine! Litter stays clean, and I can scoop right after I feed the chickens (and steal their eggs) without having to hunt for a garbage bag. Now I know why some housewives are so organized. It's not necessarily because they're OCD or obsessed with cleanliness. It's because having things unorganized is super, super annoying when you have a lot of things to do.

When our kids were little and I was a stay-at-home mom, I didn't have a lot of things to do except keep up on laundry and make sure that there was food, a lack of medical emergencies, and minimal squalor (was not super good about that last part.) Now that I no longer have a day job and I have no kids, my expectation is that I'll have all kinds of time to write, right? Well, except that clutter is distracting, and dealing inefficiently with the clutter is annoying, and laundry and dishes still need to happen, as does shopping and cooking, and I have to feed the farm animals and get the garden ready for spring and all at once I became aware that TIME IS LIMITED, even when, in theory and barring accidents or illness, you have lots of it. And when it comes to chores, I want to minimize them to maximize this work time thing, and you know, we all know, that if I let things pile up deeper and deeper I won't write, I'll dabble at writing and fret and putter. Which is awful and inefficient. Besides, if I ignore chores too long, suddenly I'm looking at six weeks of solid cleaning and zero writing time to get my environment to the point where I stop looking over my shoulder to see if the laundry is sneaking up on me, preparing to leap and then smother me. This versus an hour or two each day for a couple of chores, which I rotate through, and maybe I can squeeze in a little extra once a week so that you make overall headway (it can be done! I'm proving it to myself!)

When I started this journey I thought I'd be writing all day and writing all night with the occasional foray into book and cover design. Then I ran out of underwear. Which might not have mattered except that all my most comfortable jeans were also dirty. And I ran out of bowls. And suddenly taking a break to have a meal turned into a travesty, and showering in the morning and getting into real clothes turned into a chore, and so I wore pajamas until I had to feed the farm animals and I did that in sweats with a sweater over my sleeping shirt and I thought this is not what I envisioned my dream job to be, where I have to take over an hour for lunch because I have to clear the counters and wash a bowl first. People posted that image of a writing nook with the huge windows looking out at a winter scene, with the comfy chair and the floor lamp aimed just right, and a tidy bookshelf and I thought there is no reason why I have to put up with drifts of dog hair on the floor and stacks of papers that need to be filed all around my computer that I have to shove aside (guiltily, worrying that I might forget to pay that bill there) so I can take some quick notes which I'll immediately lose. No more! No more. I will take time to tidy. I will have my desk set up so I can find things. I will.

I'm getting there. Happily, more writing is getting done. And happily, my house is cleaner. Except I have no bowls again, but that's okay. I'll take care of it tomorrow before I start to write. Easy peasy.

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