I’ve always dreamed of having the chance just to hang out and plenty of time to write, with no other employment obligations. What writer doesn’t think, “Wow. If I didn’t have to do X, Y, and Z for 40 hours a week, I’d be so productive. My writing would take off like crazy because I’d have 40 hours free every week just to focus on my imaginary worlds.”
In December, I was informed by my boss that I’d be laid off at the end of the year due to lack of work. I was excited, knowing that I’d collect some unemployment and have “free time” to write. I assumed I’d get a couple rough drafts completed, start revising, do an outline of a new idea, and even get in the habit of blogging regularly (on both my blogs).
After a couple months, I accepted that I was delusional and reassessed my goals. I would be happy if I was blogging regularly and finished the rough draft I’ve been focusing on lately. If I could move along with Alaskan Hope, that’d be a bonus.
However, in the past five months, I’ve got so little accomplished that it’s embarrassing. I should have finished at least a draft on one (two would be better) stories that are all outlined. Instead, I’ve been spending my time sleeping and playing facebook games. I’ve also compiled an enormous list of things I’d like to buy. Funny how much I think I should purchase when I have no paycheck.
I could make a pile of excuses like:
- My husband has been working lots of hours, so when he’s home (and needs to sleep), I have a hard time saying, “Hey, watch your kids for a few hours so I can concentrate on writing.”
- I’m pregnant and tired.
- It’s hard to concentrate with two little kids running around.
- I don’t sleep well, so when I get a chance I want to nap.
- I’m not inspired. And when I do get inspired, it’s generally at some ungodly hour of the night and I know I have to get up with my kids in a few hours, so I make a note and go back to sleep. By the time I get a chance to work on the idea that inspired me, my interest has waned.
But the truth is, I’m not doing what I need to be doing in order to get my stuff finished. I have three novels completely outlined, rough drafts of two others that need some major work, and ideas up the proverbial wazoo. But nothing is getting done. I’m not sure if it’s because I lack any sense of urgency to complete my current projects, I’ve lost interest in my projects, or I just plain enjoy being lazy and spending time playing with my kids.
While I’m not going to end up living in a cardboard box when my unemployment runs out, money is a nice commodity. I applied for a few jobs in my “chosen profession” this week. And I suspect if I get hired, magically, all I will be interested in is writing. But for now, I still want to sit on the couch with the dogs and kids while playing Words with Friends.
Does anyone else have issues being productive when there isn’t a deadline looming? Do you work better under pressure? Have tips to force myself to work?