Every time I find myself mired in an all-encompassing work project for a few weeks, I always find myself thinking longingly of all the time I will have when I’m done with said work project. I will use that time for writing! All the writing! I will finish the three incomplete novel drafts I’m working on! I will get back to submitting all my completed ones to agents! I will write those three poetry collections, and those two stage plays, and that screenplay, and those two non-fiction pitches, and all the short stories in the world! I will write and write and write!
Except this never happens. Oh, sure, I get some writing done when I can squeeze a spare hour here and there, but it always seems like there’s something that’s more of a priority, like sorting out the house, or sleeping in, or catching up with one of my daft projects like my ongoing systematic attempt to watch the video of every single UK chart hit of the 1980s in alphabetical order, or reading online forums, or playing video games, or watching TV so I can clear space on the digibox…you get the idea.
At the moment, I’m not doing any of that stuff. I’m working twelve-hour days, seven days a week, on a client’s project, and so other than work I am sleeping, eating, running, blogging, keeping myself clean and presentable, and that’s it. And I suppose it makes me wonder: why am I willing to drop everything in my life for weeks at a time to work for someone else, but not for myself?
(It’s not because the clients pay me better. I mean, they do, but I’m still clinging onto the hope that one day someone will pay me for my own writing, not just my editing of other people’s work, and I will only achieve that if I work hard at it.)
Next week there will be no writing (other than blogging, which I sort of see as different). There will be catching up of all the essential stuff I’ve been neglecting for the last few weeks, and there will be getting ahead with stuff in preparation for a busy weekend. There may, however, be planning of writing, which is a beautiful way to feel like you’re making progress when you’re not.
The week after will be the real test – seeing if I can apply the same discipline to ‘normal’ time as I can to a busy work period. We’ll see how it goes.