Writing in the Margins of Life

Writing in the Margins of Life

When I started writing regularly I had a full-time job and would be forced to squeeze in drafting whenever I could. I’d write on my cell phone in all the normal places; while I was on the bus, during my break, during lunch. I’d also add words to my project at more unusual times; while in line at the grocery store, waiting for food to cook, and yes, sitting in the bathroom at work. My favorite odd spot to write was when I had a 45-minute wait for the start of a half marathon. I got quite a lot down for typing on my phone in the cold while wearing mittens.
I should say I type in unusual spots. The scene or bit of dialogue I’m getting onto the screen is something I held in my brain until I was able to open a google doc. Coming up with what I want to get down happens anywhere. It makes for some pretty distracted conversations with my husband at times. I with writer’s brain distracted from the task at hand, and he with coder’s brain distracted too. That’s part of why we do the date night once a week. We make sure we shut out the distractions our brains fling at us and focus on each other and having shared experiences.
I couldn’t figure out why I was having so much trouble with NaNoWriMo last year when I was unemployed. If you compare the available writing time I had two years ago with the time I had last year I should have been done in the first week. That’s not what happened. I struggled. I would sit down to write and spend the day completely wasting time. I wasn’t blocked for ideas. I knew exactly what I wanted to write but little things kept getting in the way.
My thought would be, “I have all day to write, I’ll just read this one article first.” A dozen or so articles later and the day would be over and I’d only have 500 words. (Please note: Any other month having 500 words is awesome and I would be happy with that, but the daily goal for NaNo is a whopping 1667 to finish in time.)
That’s when I figured out I actually work better when I have something that is keeping me from writing at some point. If I have an entire week to sit down and write or edit whenever I want, I will dither and procrastinate most of that week. If I have something that takes up a small amount of time in my day such as a scheduled call or babysitting my niece, I’m more focused the rest of the time. I’ve started scheduling housework something will get in the way of my writing because it helps me focus.
I love having days where I can sit down and type away for hours. I appreciate those days more when the rest of the week is full of distractions and work that eat up some of my time.
Maybe this will change if I ever get published. Maybe it won’t.
Maybe it would be different if my job was different. Right now I spend my working hours chasing a two-year-old. I’m trying to teach her how to play air guitar and say ‘80s movie quotes. I don’t know if I would feel different about tasks conflicting with writing if they used the same creative energy. I’m glad that it’s something I’ve figured out now.

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