I made the mistake, the one that every freelancer warns about. It’s so hard, isn’t it? You think you have a flexible schedule, and you find yourself giving away an hour here, an hour there. What’s a half-day here? A little time there?
And suddenly, writing full-time has become writing three or four days a week.
Long story short, I sat down with my schedule tonight. I need to undo some commitments, particularly the non-paying kind. Not my volunteering day. That’s a sacred day. The other sacred day is Glenn day. He didn’t hit the road so he can watch me write; we need to go out and see stuff, once a week. And taking one day off every week won’t kill me.
So that leaves five days, and I truly need five full days of writing, with no errands, hour-here or hour-there stuff in the middle of the day.
Um, duh, it’s a full-time job.
I know lots of moms run around in between writing snatches. Some thrive while writing amidst chaos. Others, like Nora Roberts, shut their office door, and there better be blood or fire if her kids interrupt her. (Or did: they’re grown now.)
The bit about Nora does give me some relief. In the middle of stressing about this, I did have a moment of panic: if I let life get to my writing with NO kids, how am I going to do it WITH kids?
Still just a little panicky about that, but MILLIONS of moms work full-time jobs while raising kids. And I wouldn’t mind the door being open. What really kills my productivity is running to the store, doing errands, or doing an hour class here or whatnot.
Lastly, all the studies show that for optimum creativity, you need to have the butt in chair at a regular time, so the biorhythms or some such thing know when to show up. And this isn’t exactly a business where you can thrive with sub-optimum creativity.
I’ve been stressing about this for days. Sometimes, you just have to say, “I can’t do that, I’m sorry.”
So what about you? How do you enforce boundaries around your writing? Do you aim for a regular time? Or do you work best with a day-to-day, flexible schedule that changes? And do you stress out about saying no? How do you say no?