Tuesday, April 22, 2008

When Life Interferes with Writing

This is in answer to Sean's question. When does life get in the way of my writing? Most of the time, actually. I'm subject to mood swings tied to seasons and the amount of daylight, so I am low energy during the winter. Spring brings the audit at my job. In the summer I want to take time off for trips down the Mississippi River or up to Duluth. Then we are back to fall and the shortening days.

In theory I am working four days a week, which should give me one day free for writing. But things come up, and I have to go into the office on my day off. I should be back to a four day week in late May, after the audit is done.

My need to write has gone up and down over the years. Recently, in the past few years, I haven't felt the need to write often. Why? I'm not sure. Partly I felt I had proved that I was a pretty good writer, and I didn't need to keep proving it. Partly I felt I did not have something new to say. I suppose it boiled down to "been there, done that."

I suspect a big component has been working 30-40 hours a week. I don't feel like writing after work; and I want to spend my weekends doing something fun. Life is short, especially when you reach my age; and you might as well enjoy it.

A strong drive to write can overcome a fair amount of interference. But I haven't had that drive in recent years, until the last few months.


Sean M. Murphy said...

I think a lot of the "emergencies" that call us into the office on our days off are bullshit. Okay, yes, there is from time to time a life or death situation, a critical, right-this-moment concern that needs handling, and for those situations, I always try to employ a least interference mindset with my employees: How little can I interrupt their day off while still solving this problem?

But in general, I find that the instant gratification nature of today's culture means that other people think of you not being at work as an inconvenience to them, not as your absolute right to have a life that is not your job.

I occasionally (when I can get away with it) remind folks of that fact. And I don't answer my phone on my days off, unless I can tell who it is. Let them leave a message, and I will determine if it is sufficiently urgent.

Bill Henry said...

It's all about triage . . .