There are times in life when no matter how well adjusted, successful or pulled together we may feel and even believe ourselves to be, we are faced with the realization that we are in fact still, screaming children with no impulse control. Today I sat at my desk. I love my desk. I know the weight of each pencil or pen, the way the light pours over the space, the way the chair feels beneath me. I know the texture of that table. It is a sanctuary. Or is it my opulent prison?
Writers (editors too) at times fall victim to their own designs. We love what we do. However we must remember that it too, is work. I often felt annoyed at writers offering advice of making specific hours within which to write each day. It seemed so limiting, so restrictive! To only write between the following hours? What does a writer do if the muses sing and it’s past ‘writing hour’?
It depends on you. I made my choice, as you will make yours. Scheduling time to write is important, as is limiting the time you allow yourself to write. I found, just yesterday, that while I may be worlds away, dancing on sunbeams or slaying dragons of metaphor, that I am missing things too. You may say this seems obvious, and at first I would agree. Yet how far are you willing to go? Is finishing that edit or that piece right then that essential? Will it be there when you return? The choice then becomes; to stay with the work, or to turn your attention to the husband, or the child, begging for your time. We would all love to say we are devoted to our craft above all things, but let’s face it, that just makes us workaholics.
Which is more important? That is not for me to say, nor is it for me to tell you. It is for us each to decide. We must now do a thing that we would never admit to, we must decide what is more important, the work or the living? Which gratifies you more, that is what will receive your time. For example, does your husband support you as you write, or does his love inspire you? Then in order to write, perhaps he is essential too. I can say that for my part, if I can scribble down a note I’m sure I’ll remember where I was. If I still forget where I was, perhaps it wasn’t that grand a place anyway. But my son, he will never be five years old again, and this piece, well, it’s not really going anywhere. Many writers would shun me for such remarks, and I would let them, but more importantly I know that from now on there is time for work and there is time for play. In my universe one cannot exist without the other.
So I must change my stance, I highly suggest setting aside time to write, and I also highly suggest setting time aside not to write. It is not only as efficient, but it is far more healthy. Write, it’s what you do. But live. Without life, there is stagnation, and from stagnation comes no progress.