Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why Does Writing Always Seem to Lose?

I seem to have come upon a conundrum - why do I always put my writing at the bottom of the 'things to do' list?  Is it because I'm a woman?  Is it because I'm a mother?  Is it because I have a house to maintain?

My answer is because it's not a 'traditional' job.  There's no going to an office with co-workers and coffee breaks and vacation time.  Now, it IS a job in that I get paid for my writing (which certainly helps with expensive children and an old house) but I really think it's because it's a stay-at-home job that it gets short shrift.

True, you CAN write anywhere.  If you've got a pen and paper then you're golden.  But you need time.  And for me, solitude.  I have discovered that if I'm just working out plot or background then I can listen to the radio (my wonderful Classic FM from London, England), but if I'm REALLY writing then it must be quiet - mainly because I mutter as I write and I need to hear myself!  This habit tends to garner odd looks if I'm in a public place.  I didn't mind being looked at when I was acting on stage - and if I could get a good laugh then I was really cookin' but in real life I'm not that forward.  I have trouble speaking to strangers. 

Everything that I've read about writing keeps reiterating that you must set aside a certain number of hours each day to write.  I get that - it's just the reality of it that kills me.  I think women are conditioned to put themselves last - or at least mothers are.

Food for thought. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm starting to think that the "number of hours" rule is just too romantic a goal to set in this day and age. I think routine is good, but why must it be the same time, every day, for x number of hours?

    I've always done well with flexibility (it's why I prefer college teaching). But here's the thing: when the semester is well underway and I've got 60 4-page papers awaiting my feedback, there is no way in hell I'm going to get that much writing done.

    But, if I'm serious about tipping the scales so that 60 students goes down to 20 someday, then I've got to prioritize my writing to the point of committing to something within reason -- say, 15 - 20 - 30 minutes, perhaps right after Jeopardy.

    This is "do as I say and not as I do," by the way. We can all be a little better.

    And one of the reasons I'm not or ever will be a mom is because I've never been willing to put myself last. (Second or third, from time to time, but not last.) And I've never been able to fathom why motherhood requires that one should. I mean that not as a judgement ('cause I have no clue), just a statement.


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