Sunday, April 3, 2011

It seems I still have a job

One of my long-deferred dreams was to take a trip to Texas to visit our middle son and his wife. I kept postponing it, always busy, always thinking I'd have time. Then he announced they were thinking of moving to California and I decided to follow Rabbi Hillel's advice, "...if not now, when?"

So my sister and I decided to drive down, leaving her husband with mine to fend for themselves. (Note: their idea of fending was to go out for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day we were gone.)

What has this to do with writing? It was like having written a book instead of telling everyone you are going to write one. Making the trip was similar: now I can say I did it, not that I am going to ... someday.

Three days after our return, I attended the daylong Carolinas Writers Conference. I was impressed that the main speakers gave their presentations and then went on to attend the workshops just like the attendees: accomplished writers both teaching and learning from fellow writers. I came away with many new ideas, not only about improving my craft, but also improving how I approached it.

When I retired from my full-time job, I thought I would have loads of time to write. It hasn't turned out that way because I am constantly sidetracked: volunteer work, part-time paid work, books to read, housework, a husband, and yes, spontaneous trips across the country.

But what I heard, over and over again, was treat your writing like a job. It is your career. Have a work space that is yours alone and set definite hours.

I do have a work space, but my hours have been wildly erratic. This is going to change. After setting definite number of hours to work each day, I plan to set goals. I do this all the time in my head, but I realize now that doesn't count. So now, I am going to write my goals on paper and give them a deadline. My hope is that looking at a list of goals each morning and noting the date they should be accomplished will make me keep my butt in my chair and my fingers on the keyboard. No surfing, no reading e-mail, no games until that day's goal can be marked off with a checkmark.

I think I can do this.

I got to Texas, didn't I?


  1. Go, Sandy! Wonderful post. We are writers and it's our job to write—in our own workspace.

  2. Good luck Sandy. I know you can do it.



  3. Good luck Sandy! Wonderful you made it to see your son. I can't seem to make myself work regular hours. I tend to take what I can get depending on how I'm feeling 'today'. I know- bad form! I'd probably be fired ten times over if it was an out of the house job! But I like my hours, erratic as they may be.

  4. Way to go, Sandy. I can't say my work schedule is regular when it comes to writing, but it is consistent. Evenings and any free time I get.

  5. Your observation about the authors attending other presenters' sessions was excellent. It demonstrated to me that learning how to improve or just change one's methods or approaches is important even to accomplished writers. And I'll do what I can to support your job as a writer, including respecting your office hours and work habits!! But remember to relax and let your creative inspirations flow unimpeded! Now if I can only get Rufus to set such goals also for his as-yet-unfinished-manuscript!