Monday, December 3, 2007

Shower Me With Discipline

I have embraced my new career with enthusiasm, appreciating the cleanliness of a fresh start. As a consultant with client pressures, I had no choice but to be disciplined. Conference calls were scheduled to review spreadsheets I’d prepared involving waterfalls (trust me, you don’t want to know), capital investments, and distributions. I never missed a deadline or arrived unprepared to a phone call or meeting (well, almost never!)

Some nights I’d lie awake, contemplating a particularly difficult calculation, crawling out of bed before dawn to either jot down my brilliant thoughts or guzzle enough coffee to perk some.

So when I heard from my writer friends, and read others’ accounts of the diversions tempting full-time authors, I shrugged and thought, Diversion, no way will I sneak off to do laundry, watch a movie, cook dinner, grocery shop, sleep, shower or, as we know from Friday’s blog, go to the gym.

And, except for an occasional afternoon huddling in a chair watching a Netflix DVD (to study the writing, of course) or volunteering at my son's school library, I work. If I’m not forming the next scene of my novel, I’m researching the Bodleian Library’s website, typing my blog, critiquing one of my partners’ chapters, querying an agent or entering a contest.

The downside is that I don’t know how to turn off my writers’ mind. Even when I’m not typing into my laptop, my mind is focused on a character or chapter to be honed and, occasionally, I still rise at dawn to jot down a plot twist. My husband will tilt his head at dinner and ask, “What are you writing now?” as if my fingers were tapping on a keyboard in my head. “You need to schedule some down time,” he says. Maybe I’m not as disciplined as I think I am.

I’m making an effort of punching out, so I can spend the evenings with my family enjoying dinner conversation, a sitcom, or a novel (while they watch Heroes, a show I just don’t get!). And although I don’t have a book on the publishing docket yet, I’d like to acknowledge their support (financial and emotional) and unwavering encouragement for my new venture. They revel with every request for full or partial manuscript as well as console me when I slit open another rejection letter. So, a big thank you to my guys.

Maybe I’ll even surprise them and schedule a shower today.

1 comment:

phammonds said...

As I read this, I am still in my pjs and the noon hour is approaching. One of my favorite authors once wrote that she was sure the FedEx guy believed she was suffering from a terminal illness. Every time she went to the door, she was in her jammies.

I too struggle with finding a balance. My husband is so good to leave work stuff at work, and when he is home, it is rare that he slips away to handle an emergency--and it's always an emergency that would make him take a call.

For me, I have to chisel out time as I can get it. If I slip off to the computer during the evening, yes, I feel guilty about it, but sometimes it's the only time I have to work without a child underfoot or the phone ringing. I do what I can and try to keep the guilt at a minimum.