Juggling writing and other stuff
As you know, Bob, writing tends to be a rather concentration-intensive thing. We have to focus on a screen and create worlds, people them with interesting characters, and then send the characters off on adventures that a reader wants to follow. All of which takes, yeah, concentration and time if you want to do a good job and produce quality work.
Thing is, very few writers have a staff of servants who can take care of everything so that all the writer has to do is focus on writing. Learning how to juggle writing with the other demands of everyday life is sorta kinda vital if you want to do this professionally. For example, I’m currently sitting perched on the edge of my seat while Jessica (the dilute grey tabby) is trying to snuggle in behind me because Jasmine (the charcoal tabby) is sitting on the back of the chair, which offends Jessica because she considers that spot her personal sitting space (even though she shares it with her brother Jeremy). The doorbell just rang with the pest control people who come around once a quarter to clear away any hornets’ nests and hit the foundation with pesticide. Oh, and I just got back from the store with food for dinner tonight and breakfast/lunch for the next three days as well as Ramón’s required Diet Coke. Before all that I filled all the food bowls, refreshed all the kitty water, scooped three litter boxes, swept up all stray litter and unloaded the dishwasher, making sure to put the clean recyclables in the recycling bin. Tonight I’ll make dinner (putting used pots into the dishwasher as I go to speed up Ramón’s cleaning the kitchen afterwards), then finish dusting the bookshelves here and vacuuming the floor all through the front rooms in preparation for putting up Christmas decorations tomorrow. That doesn’t include any laundry that needs to be done, any piles of unexpected cat vomit that need to be wiped up, or spot-cleaning.
And my life is pretty easy compared to someone who’s a parent and holds down a job at the same time. I could say “screw it” and completely give up on housecleaning while I work (and I have done), but I truly hate living in a dirty house and it distracts me from writing. So I juggle. I feed the cats, clean the litter boxes, and sweep up litter, then I answer email. I go to the store and I think about the next scene I want to write while I’m picking up carrots and green beans. I tell the Moxie guys to go ahead with the pest stuff, then I put on headphones and write while they’re bustling outside. I check social media, find one of my favorite photographers asking what people are working on so that she can schedule useful shoots, and tell her what kinds of covers I’ll need. While I cook tonight I’ll work out dialogue in my head (Ramón says he can always tell when I’m doing that because I make faces to go along with the dialogue), and put it down afterwards while R loads the dishwasher.
Would I rather have staff to handle all that while I work? Oh, hell yes. But I don’t, so I have to find ways to make everything that needs to happen, happen. And even with all this juggling, it’s still the best damned job in the world and I wouldn’t give it up unless I had to.
But Santa, if you could make that twice-monthly cleaning service happen next year, I for one would be deeply grateful.