Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Trimming the Fat

Howdy All -- Again I apologize for not having another copyright post ready. I have a feeling those copyright notes are wedged between two piles of notes that have absolutely nothing to do with the copyright seminar I took, and said notes are somewhere in my family's basement... Cuz man, I'm having trouble locating them.

They could also be on one of my many USB keys...labeled incorrectly. *scratches head* Yeah, this is a tough one. I'll find them, tho. When I have a bit more time to look. So don't give up on me quite yet...I'll get back on topic soon.

If you didn't know already, I work a crap ton of hours every week. And I mean A Crap Ton. I average anywhere from 65-80... usually hovering right around 70-75. It isn't much fun and I finally had to admit to myself that it's really negatively impacting my writing. But in all honesty, what can you do about it all when your rent is due and Mr. Visa (the jerk) wants his money? I'll tell ya, not a whole lot.

On top of that, I have obligations to family....obligations to Compu...obligations to this and that. Quite frankly, my writing always comes dead last. And when I do find a chunk of time, writing is usually the last thing I want to do. Mostly because I'm too exhausted to think about it. I believe it was Claire who did a wonderful post about needing time and energy to simply think about writing...and how that fuels her actual writing sessions. Boy did I relate to the post at the time, but unfortunately, there wasn't much I could do to rectify my situation.

Well, I'm here to say for better or for worse... I'm trimming the fat... FINALLY.

I'm cutting back on my work hours...in a MAJOR way. I've been juggling two jobs for the past couple of years and I'm finally allowing myself to say ENOUGH already, and have given notice at one of them. It ends in a couple of weeks and I can't tell you how excited I am to have that 15-25 hours back. WHOOT.

And though I've enjoyed the time spent in Exercises at the forum, I'll no longer be officially running monthly X's. I've been so overwhelmed with real life stuff that my involvement has been fairly sketchy anyway. I've maybe been able to manage posting exercises, but commenting and active involvement has been near impossible. I've felt fairly guilty about that for the past few months, so stepping down is a good thing. Frees away that guilt when I want to write -- i.e. I want to write, but I should be commenting or participating in exercises instead. Yeah, it's been a constant cloud of guilt hovering above me. Well, the sun is finally coming out folks...and boy do I need the rays. :)

I think sometimes in this writing gig we're much, much too hard on ourselves. I used to churn out words like no tomorrow. An average day for me was 3K+ (and the average time spent writing a book? 2 months?)...and now I'm barely able to manage a couple hundred. That's if I manage to write at all. I've felt super guilty about it for a very long time. And that guilt only makes me do less because it tends to immobolize me -- I get into the mind frame that if I can't have a Jen-productive day, then it isn't worth it and I'm a complete failure.

Well, luckily I'm in a better position to cut back on work a bit. I know a lot of people aren't tho. And that's just a reality of life. I don't have kids either...and the mess of responsibilties that come along with trying to raise a family AND work full-time...or perhaps even more. And I definitely know how easy it is to let guilt overwhelm you.. how easy it is to get into the mindframe that I shouldn't write because I have too many other, more important things to do.

I'm here to say that's utter and total crap. Writing IS important because it's important to ME. It's important to YOU. So do it when you can. It may take a helluva lot of juggling and time management on your part, but if it's your dream, don't give up on it. Somehow you have to find a way. It may mean not having the extra money you want...or it may mean giving up some things you really love... but with those sacrifices, think of all that you'll gain.

I, for one, feel much better about myself when I'm actively writing... when I feel that sense of accomplishment of seeing the pages I've churned out each day. It puts me in a better mood, I have more energy because of it... all in all, a writing Jen = a Happy Jen.

I'm soooooo ready for Happy Jen again. And yanno what's great, at just the thought of freeing up all of this time, the ideas have already begun to churn up again. Crazy. But absolutely wonderful. :)

ETA: Kristen apologizes for missing her post yesterday. She was a bit under the weather, but hopefully will be on the mend soon. She'll catch you cats next week. :)


  1. Good on you Jen, hope it all works out for you, and yes, that writing is important to ME! It is really hard, with our busy lives to allow ourselves time to do something just because it's important to us.

  2. Wow, Jen, hope you get back to 3K+ soon - that's an amazing record! I can get up to maybe 1200 words in one sitting if I write on paper. This morning I'm trying to write on the computer, so I don't have to go through the whole "carry looseleaf on me for weeks and then finally type up the scene" thing, but man, is it slow! I've barely cracked 500 words.
    Hope you're feeling better Kristen!

  3. Jen, I know exactly what you mean. You just feel better when you write.

    After the kids went to bed tonight - and before the husband got home - I managed to write a couple of hundred new words that had to be written. And man, I felt so much better for doing so.

    Writing = happy Rachel, too.