I'm hanging out with a dog three days a week. That's a nice long walk (to help this 60 pounds of ripcord muscle good boy burn through some of his remnant puppy energy) and then some hanging out just to give it a little less time alone while one of its humans is out of town. He's a good boy, but the walks are about an hour, the hang outs usually an hour more, the drive out to south Oakland and back about an hour (Oakland is weirdly huge and you can easily drive 30 minutes from Oakland and still be in Oakland).
And this is three days a week. I can double dip a bit by writing during the "hang out" time, but I'm doing that thing I do where I pretend that quick jobs with drive times don't add up.
I'm also doing a pet sitting job (my last job) this week. That's got a dog who needs walking and a whole system of pet feeding that goes down twice a day.
This is just to say that since I'm trying to be better about this overworking stuff, and even though I can bring a great posting schedule to bear because of my current nanny schedule, I have to admit that I can't do the new schedule AND the old one concurrently. In order to try and keep this next week under 70 hours, I'm going to take it a little easy this week (and next).
So this is all I'm doing for today, and I'm taking Thursday off. There's still plenty of good stuff planned.
There isn't much didactic wisdom I can drill out of this announcement, and I know that if I counted all the readers who give a crap about my posting schedule as anything more than a reminder that even working writers struggle to find their writing time, I wouldn't have to take off my socks to count them, but I will say this:
(And it is a paradox and annoying as fuck.)
I think part of the reason I make money from creative writing is, in part, because I am brutal about my self-expectations. And from what I've seen of other working writers, that is part of the cocktail of what makes a working writer. The ONE thing I see professional artists have in common over and over and over and over again is that they're driven. Maybe even just a bit more than fits into a good work/life balance.
I meet a lot of people who want to know the magic of paying the bills with writing (the side gigs are to have health insurance and brand name peanut butter). "How do you accomplish this sorcery??!??" they demand. But when I tell them to try their level best to write every day, they act like I've gone off the rails. Then they scratch their heads the next time my career bounces forward, and demand again to know how I've pulled it off.
I am always trying to walk that tightrope between the fact that I will be less productive if I'm overworked, overtired, or overextended, and the fact that I don't think I would be doing as well if gave myself permission to stop writing every time I worked a sixty-hour week, had to come home after a long day and do some writing, or took a break at the first hint of overwhelmed.
Like any athlete or artist or anyone who is professional in a world where most are hobbyists and largely unpaid, pushing oneself to be better is forever a decision to ignore the little voice that says to just take a break and instead be just a little bit "extra."
I want you all to be the best YOU you can be, and if that means realizing that you love writing, but not enough to give up free time, video games, Netflix, a social life, or to do whatever it takes to wrangle it into a career, go be happy and do other things with your life and know that you made a good choice to write when it makes you happy.
And if that means going all in, do it with full knowledge of the sacrifice, but be careful you don't overdo it, and once in a while––JUST ONCE IN A WHILE––go ahead and remember that 15 extra hours of side gigs is a lot even if you don't feel like "just walking a dog" should interrupt your writing or if those 15 hours are deceptively spread out over a week.
And give yourself a damn day off.
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