Most of us who’ve been at this writing game for a while dream of the day when we can write full time, when all we have to do is wake up in the morning, and go to work on our favorite passion.
I find myself in one of those situations for the next six days. My wife is out of town visiting friends and because of the condition of our beagle he needs someone to be around the house most of the day, not only for pills, but to check that he’s okay and help him through any seizures. This basically leaves me with a lot of time sitting on the couch, not being able to go anywhere away from the house for more than an hour or so.
On the one hand this is great. It’s probably the most restful bit of time I’m bound to have for a while, and the dog needs my presence and occasional assistance more than my constant attention. As I write this he is laying at my feet patiently waiting for is 8am pills and breakfast, occasionally stirring to chew on his nylabone. We have a noise machine going now 24 hours, so I am surrounded by the sounds of calming waves.
Yet I’m not exactly in the writing head space either, and haven’t been for the last few weeks as this has been going on. But I’ve got six days with little to do but sit here with my laptop, petting the dog and typing. And part of me feels I shouldn’t waste opportunities like this by spending them playing video games (even though I probably will spend some time on Bioshock 2) or watching TV. Since my editor is out of town, that work would be on new projects, either stories for Bradburys, or something else, which frankly requires a little more creative energy than continuing on a well established project. My brain says things like, “you could write 2000 words a day, or get four short stories done” and my body says “let’s watch The Simpsons and clear hard drive space” or “let’s read comic books.”
When I’ve had times like this before, it has always helped to have a routine. That’s the one thing I think is good about having a full time job, is that it kind of forces you to have to make the best of the time you have left, and puts your life in a natural structure. So it is nice to start the morning writing to all of you, even though the dog keeps looking at me like time is passing at a glacial pace. “I haven’t eaten yet either, bud.” I gently remind him.
The only problem with routines is they take time to establish. I think it’s probably going to take a couple of days to really figure how best to make use of this time, and then it will be half over. In the end the space of a few days really isn’t that much in the grand scheme of things. If all I’ve done is entertain myself and take care of essentials, that might be restorative for future projects later. And as I write this it might actually be a great time to work on fractals, since it’s this perfect combination of creative and rote energy.
I guess we’ll just have to see what the week will bring.
How do you guys spend your free time, if you ever get any?