Friday, March 13, 2009

My writing fantasy

I have to preface this post with a reality check. I’m a mother of two young children, with a full time job and a husband who, surprisingly and quite nicely, likes to spend quality time with me.

I eek out writing time when I have energy in the evenings, after the wee ones go to bed, and during my increasingly rare lunch hours at work, but these are short timeframes.

And, (this is not a sympathy bid,) I’m cool with this. I like my job, and love my kids and husband and while I’d love to write faster, I’m writing, so all is good.

But on Friday mornings, when I’m feeling lazy, I fantasize about my ideal writing life.

So here it is.

A sunny, bright office, all to myself, with floor to ceiling bookshelves on three of the walls. A comfy couch for reading breaks and a computer not attached to the internet. (because even in fantasy, I know my limitations. The internet is writing kryptonite)

A full day to write. The nanny would be taking care of the kids. Eight solid hours to think about nothing but story and craft. The mornings would be for writing new scenes, the afternoons for editing.

A state of the art, two hundred pages per minute, printer. A fresh cup of perfect coffee that magically appears, and the knowledge that someone else is taking care of the mountain of laundry piled up in all the bedrooms.

And every four months a research trip, or conference, with my writing buddies. I’d like to go to France first. I’ll set a book there eventually, so it would be useful.

I’d take an hour every day to work out with a personal trainer, because when my body’s tired, my brain sometimes works better. And because it seems really decadent to me to work out during work hours.

Ok, that sums up my perfect writing day. I’m sure the reality is that with eight hours, I’d still only accomplish what I do in two hours, but it sounds so relaxed and nice and my laundry would be done.

And really, can you ask for anything better than someone else doing your laundry.

12 comments:

Amy Ruttan said...

"And really, can you ask for anything better than someone else doing your laundry."

Amen.

Kathy Holmes said...

That was close to my life not long ago and I miss it. The thing is I would sit there all day and work up to the story and only write for an hour or two. I felt guilty for not writing more. Now that I'm working I often find time to carve out that amount of time but what I miss is that working up to the writing time. I realized how important that can be. Now I feel frazzled.

But the laundry thing? That would be nice. :)

Sinead M said...

Kathy, my secret fear is that I would still get the same amount done as I do now, just waste hours and hours.

And sleep a lot more...which right now sounds like heaven.

The laundry thing is so universal. Everybody needs someone else to do their laundry...

M. said...

I'd like to hijack your fantasy, please.

Have you ever read 'No Plot, No Problem' by Chris Baty? He talks about having a similar fantasy and then arranging obligations and money in such a way that he had a year to do nothing but write. He says he didn't get anything done,being overwhelmed by the largeness and freedom of his time.

Molly O'Keefe said...

YES! Let's talk writing fantasies. I don't want a whole day - I know I'd just end up sleeping. But probably at the exact same time you were thinking about this - I was thinking about this and I want three hours. Two hours for writing, one hour for walking/working out/eating pastry - whatever I need for the day.

But I want those two writing hours to be flexible and fluid, whenever I want them- whereever I want them. If I want to be home - no kids, total silence. If I want to be at a coffee shop - great, kids dealt with. Morning, evening, middle of the night, whenever - no organizing, finagling, compromising.

I could use more bookshelves - that's for sure.

Maureen McGowan said...

Your fantasy is great, Sinead. But I think both M. and Molly (and your own observations of times in my life) have shown that no situation's perfect.

With too much time to write, I often feel like I'm at work (or should be working) 100% of the time. I feel like I haven't had a day off for years, even though, of course I have.

I think my fantasy would involve having those 3 hours Molly wants when I'm writing a first draft... But when I'm in the thick of revising... My current process requires more hours a day than that. Sometimes 10-12.

Anyone know of a (great paying) job where I can work 4 hours a day for 3-4 months and then not work at all for the subsequent 3 months? :-)

K J Gillenwater said...

"And really, can you ask for anything better than someone else doing your laundry."

For me, I'd gladly do my own laundry, if someone would just clean up the kitchen for me after I cook and everyone eats. I like folding clothes in front of the tv. It's relaxing. And the machine does most of the work anyway.

Dishes? Wiping down counters? Cleaning my oven/stove? HATE IT. But yet I cannot live with a messy kitchen...at least, not very messy.

Kimber Chin said...

KJ, you must not do a lot of ironing. I dislike ironing immensely. I save it all up for one day a month (the hubby has A LOT of shirts), blast the music, and having an ironing marathon (4 hours or more of ironing).

The benefit of having a day off to write (what I do during the summer) is that you write with a fresh brain. At the end of a work day, my brain hasn't much left for plotting or anything yummy like that.

Marcy said...

Kimber - I'm with you re: the brain being dead at the end of the work day. In the morning, while I'm at work with no time to write, my mind is ripe with ideas. But come 8:30 when the kids are in bed...it all magically disappears.

Molly - I'm amazed that you hold down a full time job and still manage to write a couple of books a year with 2 small kids at home. What's your secret?

Marcy

Molly O'Keefe said...

Oh Marcy - you have me confused with wonder woman - or Sinead. I'm with you as far as the kids and a couple books a year - a full time job would probably kill me.

Marcy said...

Molly, I'm glad I don't have to secretly hate you.I guess I'll move on to secretly hating Sinead. OK, Sinead...what's YOUR secret? How do you fit it all in to a day?

Sinead M said...

Marcy, Molly was being modest. I write max, one book a year, and Molly writes three and while writing books is her full time job, she also manages somehow to take care of her two young children, and is an inspiration to all of us.
And I have tried to understand how she does this, and this is what I've gleamed.
She does not surf the internet during her rare writing times. When her kids nap, she writes, A Lot.
When she sits down to the computer, she has the scene worked out in her head and she really focuses..

I'm still working on getting half of Molly's focus..

Which really should be her next workshop...

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