Thursday, March 20, 2008
Writing Schedules and Scavenger Hunts

Just Me 25/365, originally uploaded by Mellahoney.

I've been trying to explain to my kids that I work from home. True, I am not getting paid for the majority of the "work" that I do here at the computer (yet - wishful thinking) - but I have to make this commitment to myself. To treat my writing as though it is a job, a career choice and not a hobby. If there's anything that will separate me from the other would-be-successful-author's, it's my persistence.

I've begun doing some for-profit editing and manuscript critiquing. My rates are ridiculously low, sure, but I'm just getting my feet wet and I don't want to overcharge someone on the off chance that my work is somehow less than they're expecting. Maybe I'll get the hang of it and charge more - or maybe I'll realize while spending my evening hours reading and editing other people's 100K-plus manuscripts, that I should have completed one myself. Something other than a short story collection. (Although, I do so love the medium of short stories - of just capturing enough of a glimpse into another world to satisfy.)

Or maybe I just like the feeling of completing something, and for now short stories are it.

Because the thing is, three year olds don't understand the difference between you working and you ignoring them. So, while he's perfectly capable of playing by himself or with his sister - and does so quite easily whenever I'm NOT on the computer - my son has begun a habit of whining at me and tugging on the mouse to get me away from here.

You can not be selfish and be a good parent. It's just impossible. So I relinquish some of my "me" time while he's napping to do things like draw makeshift scavenger hunt lists or print up activities for him to do at his desk while I'm working on the computer. It all sounded so good in my head - I had great visions of him sitting quietly, or so fervently seeking his plastic dinosaur to check it off of his scavenger list.

So far we've had only moderate success with this. Any activities that involve crayons or glitter or crafty-types of things, requires me to, at the bare minimum, walk over every few minutes and acknowledge the wonderful masterpiece he is creating. And the scavenger hunt is not the independent activity that I had hoped for. Seems my drawing skills are somewhat lacking and he'll wander around the house for ten minutes whining that he can't find the turtle, when in fact, he's supposed to be looking for his plastic dinosaur.

I'm looking forward to the great someday when it's springtime and we have a yard with a fence and he and his sister can play outdoors while I sip coffee and write on my laptop on the deck. Or the even greater someday, when we have a big 'ol house with a farmer's porch and we're in the country somewhere where I can just let them run loose (and we're also independently wealthy and there is world's really a nice little dream.)

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Anonymous phx said...

i admire your persistence. i love that about short stories too--just a glimpse. i miss "revising grace". :) a house with a house AND fence sounds wonderful... the average price of houses in vancouver is now $966,000. living in the country is starting to sound really wonderful.

Blogger Skye said...

I hear you! I definitely hear you.

Blogger Susanna Rose said...

"If there's anything that will separate me from the other would-be-successful-author's, it's my persistence."

Yup, from all that I've read from you over the last few years, you are the most persistent (and successful:) free-lancer I know! You are an inspiration! And I love it that you really want to balance your writing with spending quality time with your have your priorities in the right place!

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