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08/25/2006

Work Kicks Ass


The one thing I hate about writing is that, for most authors, it's not a career you can rely on for the bills. At one time, writing was a self-supporting career, but it hasn't been that way for a very long while. Unlike other writers (some of them at least), I just can't take a leap of faith with my writing and devote myself to it as my only career. Just the past 2 or 3 years have shown that. Of course, I don't have a finished novel either -- maybe that makes a difference. I doubt it, but it's possible. Regardless, I'm stuck working until (if) I have a writing career that supports me because I have kids. It's been hard enough on us as a family without mommy suddenly cutting 50% of our income.

Which means there's a lot of interference with my writing. Work eats up time, energy, and personal resources. Since I'm a substitute teacher, this doesn't happen just during job hours. For long term assignments, I'm often making the plans and doing the grading. The time in the classroom, especially when the school year is just starting, is exhausting. I come home and I can barely find the energy to check mail, much less the energy to write anything. Saying it sucks doesn't even begin to cover it.

But we have to eat, pay rent, make sure the utilities stay on. We don't do it well, but it must be done.

Work is my biggest challenge when it comes to writing. It kicks my ass -- and not just because it tanks my energy and motivation. The time crunch makes it hard to get anything done. Then there's the wacked out scheduling -- there isn't one. If I get a long term position, I can settle into a routine for that period of time, but then what little time I had with the regular subbing positions gets eaten with classroom and teaching stuff. If I'm working the short term positions (a few days at most, usually), my schedule is so variable that it's hard to get into a routine for writing. I adjust my goals as best I can, but my progress is even slower, and it is very frustrating.

I still haven't found a way to make the job and my writing co-exist. Perhaps that will come when I have a regular position rather than a sub position, but I'm not holding my breath. From what I've heard from established teachers, it doesn't get much better even once you have built up your resources. Balancing work and writing will, apparently, always be a struggle. Yes, I know this is true for most working writers, but the search for that balance is even harder for teachers -- they take work home with them.

I chose to work to support my family. Finding a way to keep work from eating up my writing career is proving to be harder than revising a chapter of Assassin's Choice.




Obstacles & Overcoming
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