When your day job involves writing, it is very, very difficult to break away from it so that you can write non-work-related stuff.
This is especially frustrating when the non-work-related stuff is what you’d rather be doing with your life, and you can’t hope to make that change-over until you get something finished.
Trying to get a novel done, while my days are filled with the writing, editing, layout, and planning of RPG material is really fucking difficult.
I know that it sounds ridiculous to be complaining….after all, I’m still writing for a living, right? I can’t explain it any better than to say it this way: It feels like my entire life is being lived in a state of “Almost There.”
10 Replies to “Frustration”
I get it…
I think that is why a lot of people work in mundane jobs that are not a real passion, so they canse spend their off time what they really love not burned out and frustrated.
I think a lot of folks thing about doing things with their career talents but feel exactly the way you do.
I hear you. I really do.
Your frustration is wholly understandible. This is, it seems to me, to be no different than when you were working a regular day job and doing the game work on the side.
I would also think that part of the frustration actually stems from the feeling that you can’t step away at all from your “regular” job, because if you aren’t working, you aren’t making money (the curse of the self-employed), which actually exacerbates the problem.
Would it be at all possible for you to set yourself up for specific hours for your “job”, and then perhaps give yourself permission to set aside a specific amount of each day for working on the novel…just like anyone else who was “working for a living” but working on a novel on the side? Particularly, say, to set apart the first hour or two of the day for novel and then the rest for “work”, that way the novel always gets time, and your regular work pressure (“gotta work to make money”) will keep you focused for the remainder of the afternoon?
If this is at all possible, I’d recommend it. Especially the part about letting yourself have an hour *first* to to the writing you love/want to do. Then you don’t have to be stressed out trying to make time later in the day. AND maybe it will help you stop vilifying the work-writing. Because it would be bad to forget that’s something you also love. And if you have other time, you can always go back to the novel.
That being said, I want to reiterate that you can always tell me to shut the fuck up if I’m bugging you too much for your submission. I really *really* want to read more, so I hope that’s encouragement, but I know I can get carried away…
It makes it tough when you are doing both in the same room on the same computer, too. You can’t get into the creative groove because you are reminded of work you need to do. Have a laptop? A nice quiet air conditioned location out of the house may be just what you need…
Are there internet cafes in Larrytown? It’s a good option if you haven’t got a laptop.
Re: I get it…
a lot of people work in mundane jobs that are not a real passion, so they canse spend their off time what they really love not burned out and frustrated
A-yup. *raises hand*
Luckily, I really don’t mind my day job at all, so that helps. But yeah, I know I don’t want to sew or cook for a living. It’s a special kind of person who wants to pursue his passion for a living and I know I am so not that kind of person.
I’ve been having the same problem the last few weeks. Each time I think I’m gonna get time to write something happens. A few weeks ago I was certain that I would get vs. Pirates out on the 30th. Now I’m not quite so certain.
Only one way to do it, mate.
First priority EVERY day is to write 1000 words of that novel. No distractions, no excuses. You don’t look at email, you don’t look at the internet, you don’t open snail mail, you don’t turn on the TV, you don’t answer the phone, till that 1000 words is done. It’s usually done way, way faster than it would be if you did it any other time of the day or night — and then you have the rest of the day to do work.
Smart man. Listen to him. :)
I had this problem for years as well. And I knew at least one person who never, ever understood. He kept saying “the only way to get a novel published is to sit down, write one, and submit it.” And I kept pointing out that I write for a living (and it was my sole source of income at the time) and couldn’t afford to take the time away from paying projects to do a novel strictly on spec. But he was right about one thing, that as long as I kept that attitude I’d never be able to make that jump.
I also have tech-writer friends who say the same thing you do–that by the time they get home they’re so burned out on writing they don’t want to even look at the computer, much less work on their fiction.
Setting aside time to do at least a little bit each day helps. And the idea of doing it first is great. That way you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment each day, which will probably carry over to your other work as well. You can always write more later if you get caught up on everything else, but at least this way you’re making progress every single day. At 1000 words a day, you’ll have a novel finished in roughly ten weeks. That’s a nice steady pace, a clear deadline, and not so far away it’ll feel like forever.
This is why I am winding down my consulting work and finding something more hands on (operating engineer). I can actually leave my work at work. I just wrapped up 81k words for a young adult sci-fi book in 7 weeks, it’s off to my editor now.
I’ll recommend this, though: have days when you write and days you just don’t. You will need a break just like you would from any regular writing work. I was stumbling on my book until I set time to not work on it, and then it felt more like a ‘getaway’ rather than a chore.
It also helps to envision it already completed, with a cover and such: I mocked one up (spine included) and it gave me motivation to keep working.