Blog Post No. 537
I was going to title this week’s post A Room of One’s Own, then I looked up the title in Wikipedia. I knew it was the name of an essay by Virginia Wolf, and I knew it had something to do with needing a space (and money) in order to write, what I forgot was that she was taking about the specific issues women faced when writing fiction and I really didn’t want to co-opt that (even as a silly tittle for a dumb blog post). As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, this post will deal with the basic idea of needing space, physically and mentally, in order to write. (There are plenty of great women writers that you should check out for more on their personal struggles like Brittni Brinn, Elly Blake, and Vanessa Shields, among many others).
Welcome to another blog post where I wallow in my struggle with consistency. A large part of that has to do with my obsession with routine (consciously and not). I feel so constantly overwhelmed in my daily life that having a routine is the only way for me to be productive with anything, including writing. Before the lock-downs, I was getting good at going out to a coffee shop (like Anchor) to get my writing done.
When I had to work during the day, I went back out as soon as I got home. And when my friend’s were available, I met up with them. Either way, the idea was the same. I left the house in order to dedicate that time to writing because I struggled to write at home. During the lock-downs, since I didn’t have a choice, I figured out a new routine so I could write at home. I have a nice space with a desk and computer. I have internet access, music, coffee, and snacks. It’s a pretty nice setup. I found out that if, as soon as I’m done cleaning up after breakfast, I sat at my computer with the intention of writing, I was able to write daily for months at a time.
Not having any other obligations was very helpful, but the key was routine. Now that I’ve been back to work for a couple of years, I’ve been struggling to find a new routine. I don’t go out, so coffee shops aren’t an option. Also, I tend to not eat lunch since I find it uncomfortable to eat at work, so by the time I get home, I’m starving, pushing the option of going out later. That also makes writing at home in the evening even more difficult as it’s late and I’m usually already exhausted from the day job.
For the novella I’ve been working on, I’ve been focusing on trying to write during my breaks at the day job. It’s amazing when it works and I have a good uninterrupted half-hour between tasks. The down side is that some days, even with the best intentions, I get way too busy to even try.
In order for me to write fiction, I have to fully lose myself in what I’m writing. Trying to do that at work is tough, even during breaks. My priority is always to the job, so sinking into that fugue state is tricky. It’s pretty amazing when it happens, though. That way I can not write at home that evening and not feel guilty. Though, that’s not to say I manage to write at night even when I don’t get it done during the day. I can’t have it all.
For now, the inconsistency of trying to write during a busy day isn’t working. I have to work out writing in the evenings at home again. I think that means I also have to be okay with missing a day of writing when there are other obligations taking priority. Maybe I’ll have to learn how to pick away at a story in smaller chunks. I’ve changed my writing habits before, I’m sure I can do it again. At the end of the day, even if become a published author with some success, I won’t be able to quite the day job. I just have to learn to work with it (or more likely, around it). I’m almost done the first draft of the novella for the anthology! Not that I can see the ending, yet. Maybe I’ll be done by next week.