I’ve had a long weekend. And by that, I mean I’ve had three glorious days of work being cancelled because of bad weather and everyone being stranded at home because it’s either too cold to leave the house or there’s too much snow blocking the door from being opened.
Yeah-I was so disappointed having to sleep in. *sarcasm*
On the bright side of “Snowmageddon’s” great arrival, three days of work being cancelled meant three extra days of all the glorious writing I could muster! It was like a dream come true. I could write and edit and write some more. When Monday came, I woke up and wrote until my fingers ached. I ignored digging my car out of the snow banks and instead chose to sit in my chair, laptop on my knees, continuing on with writing my novel. During breaks I even had the opportunity to research some freelance writing gigs. It was pure bliss.
The first day was a success. And when the weather man said it would be cold and snowy for pretty much the rest of the week, I rejoiced even more. This was the week I could pretend to be a stay-at-home author. It was a test-run for my dream job, and I expected it to be perfect.
Oh, how reality hit fast.
There are (usually) two types of stay-at-home workers: those who get things done and those who get things done but have to force themselves to do it. On Monday I found myself in the first category, but when Tuesday came along, and all those old DVD’s stuffed in my cabinet were calling my name to be watched while eating old left over Christmas cookies (don’t worry-they were frozen), I found myself having to force myself to write at times.
This was unexpected. Me, the writer, choosing to watch old Sherlock episodes and the Star Trek movie instead of writing my beloved book? I was shocked. I didn’t expect myself to be so…fickle, for lack of a better term. I thought it would be easy to be able to sit down for hours on end and write all day, every day, and after one 24-hour time period, I was already finding excuses to ignore my book and just go straight to Captain Kirk’s adventures on the big screen.
But being the *somewhat* responsible person that I am, I forced myself to write, even when I wanted to see Chris Pine run around the Enterprise while I binged on chocolate. After about an hour, I found myself getting back into the groove, writing and immersing myself into my work. And by the end of the day I had two chapters written and finished with enough time to watch Star Trek after dinner.
I learned a valuable lesson during my time off. I love to write-it’s my passion, it’s my calling, it’s near and dear to my heart. But like any other job (even a fun one), sometimes it’s easy to want to take a break and have fun. This isn’t a bad thing-after all, all work and no play makes a person, well…a workaholic. But with too much free time it’s also easy to put off the work and ignore it. For me, I learned that even though I love writing and it’s fun, sometimes I have to force myself to work on my writing. Because let’s be honest-Star Trek is more interesting than editing grammar (at least I think so).
It also made me take a look at the writing profession in general. I used to think that being a professional author (like the kind who do nothing but write as their daily job) was easy, fun, and perfect. How could a job like that be stressful or difficult when you love what you do? For some, it wouldn’t be difficult-they could write all day and be content. But for me, I found that even though most days I love to write, there are days when I frankly…don’t. I don’t feel like re-reading the same paragraph twenty times because it doesn’t sound right or I don’t feel like changing the first chapter fifty times because it’s too boring. There are some days where yes, I’d rather watch a Star Trek movie and eat frozen Christmas cookies.
And that’s where dedication comes in. As a writer, I had to ask myself-do I believe in and love my work so much that I’m going to do it even when I don’t feel like it? Obviously, there’s a time for rest and recuperation and I’m not saying to do nothing but work all the time like a machine. But for me, being the person that is easily tempted by cookies and Star Trek (apparently), I had to decide whether I really wanted to write-feelings or not.
And I’m glad I made the choice to write because (five new chapters later) my book is that much closer to being finished.