Saturday, March 31, 2007

Writing On Week Two

Ah, the ever-increasing struggle to carve out a space and time for writing in a hectic week. My own writing, that is. I once had a creative writing professor tell me that people who write for a living are usually tapped out at the end of the day, and that the 'real' writers were the carpenters, plumbers, and labour workers of the world. This is true, but not always so restrictive. I actually find that my more technical writing at work fuels my creative writing. I don't mean to say that the situations at work necessarily creep into my personal writing, although sometimes it is unavoidable, but that it lends another form or structure that enables my writing to be more well-rounded. Also, when you know you are writing for someone else, especially in a work situation, as interesting as it may be, you realize you are in the act of writing and can't wait to be at home writing a poem or tweaking a fiction manuscript. The other advantage is that I don't have to switch any hard gears in my head.
At least, that is how it is for me. The tired factor comes in, as it does for anyone trying to balance a creative life with steady work. The romantic idea is that all you need is your paper and pen and to hell with that steady pay cheque. Well, it depends on what you need in life -- and, for myself, I need a roof to write under.
I will be negotiating a flex day at work, which will make all the difference in concentrating on my second job, my indentured servitude to my heart's passion (other than my wonderful, significant other who I will not be exploiting on this site -- except maybe in a few chosen morning couplets) -- an entire day to write, and maybe do a few dishes and cook some food, if needed. It is an interesting, fragile balance between work, family and writing -- and is there a correct prioritizing in this list? I believe they feed off each other, and can all be managed. I find myself now becoming engrossed in articles about how to solve this dilemma. Although I don't have little ones (except my kitties) to think about, yet, I am preparing myself and making mental notes about 'finding time to write when they are watching Sesame Street or having a nap'. "Yeah," I think to myself, "I can do that." Then no one is the wiser, and I can still be a picture-perfect, all present mom when that particular day comes.
My point is that, as writers, we need that free space - unencumbered and quiet - to create. We need to make a small separation from our other selves, our other titles - mom, employee or employer, wife, housekeeper. My apologies for speaking from a female perspective -- of course, Dad, employee or employer, husband. These are all essential parts of the writer, but roles we can let go of for a few hours a day. Writing is thinking, and connecting with ourselves.

1 comment:

Peter Tolman said...

"My point is that, as writers, we need that free space..."

Andrea, I think as humans, we need that free space, regardless of what we do in the free space. Life is a constant struggle, a juggling act, the aim of which is some kind of contentment or balance. Writers are no different than contstruction workers, nurses and plummers in this regard. And you're very right, there is no romance in poverty. Even Bukowski had to hold down jobs in order put a rook over his head and wine on the table.