As part of my attempt to find a more productive writing schedule, I have moved my computer to my bedroom. I know that is not the ideal place to keep it. It has the potential to interfere with sleep patterns. However, all the experts say you should have a quiet writing space. A place where you can shut out the external world and concentrate. I don’t know how that jibes with people who write in coffee shops or sidewalk cafes. I’m not sure solitude is always necessary, but I do know that trying to write in a hub of activity wasn’t really working. My home office is in an area that doesn’t even have a door I can close. In fact, except for the dining room, it is about the most high-traffic area in the house.
So, here I sit, all alone. However, there is now another problem. Before, I could work off and on all day long even while doing other things. I used to step into the office and work for half an hour or so while the baby played in his pen in the livingroom. There was no door and it was only ten feet away. I could hear him babbling and rattling around. There was nothing within reach that could hurt him. I can’t run upstairs and leave him alone like that. If I come upstairs, he has to come too. There isn’t room up here for his playpen or his walker. The only thing he has up here to amuse him is a bouncing swing and abstract art slides on my second monitor. It works for short periods, but he’s only nine months old. He gets bored quickly.
Before, I could set the timer on the oven while fixing dinner and go write. I can’t hear the timer go off upstairs. I can set a timer on my phone, but it doesn’t work the same. In the office, it was only a few steps to the kitchen to check on things, then right back to work. Up here, it’s a major effort. If I stop to go downstairs and take something out of the oven, I’m probably not going to come right back.
This arrangement is forcing me to look at writing as a more serious occupation. Almost like a “job.” It’s never been that before. It’s always been my inclination, aggravation, predilection, paroxysm….every thing except a regular work ethic. Writing burst forth from my mind and heart incrementally, each part kind of building on the one before and all of it personal. More like a diary than anything else. Only my fiction was independent of my daily life and it had a tendency to get lost in the scramble of Facebook, website work, blogging and living.
The only time I had worked at writing in any kind of controlled way was for school. Then, someone else had chosen a topic and given me a deadline. I had been forced by the environment to accomplish the goal along a professional like path. Choosing my own topics and setting my own deadlines hasn’t been working out very well. I guess, subconsciously, I was looking for that controlled habitat when I decided to enroll in classes again. I think I had the idea that, as I made time for homework, I would be able to set aside writing time as well.
At first, I had a tendency to treat classwork like I had been doing my writing. Homework was being done at the last minute and writing not at all. It took a few weeks for me to organize myself around this new circumstance. The computer was still downstairs at the beginning of the semester and I got in the habit of doing school work incrementally as well. With the computer upstairs, that has become impossible. So, I am rewriting my editorial calendar, redoing my daily schedule. The first semester of my Religious Studies courses is almost finished and I have finally begun to find a pattern. Adjusting my mental processes and physical activities to work on a set schedule. Mostly the baby’s schedule, but a schedule nevertheless.
I work when the baby naps or after his mother gets home. Early in the morning, I check email and social media, then do little Yoga. If Baby Boy is still asleep or his mother is home, I do homework or write. Somewhere between noon and two o’clock, he’s ready for a two or three hour nap, more free time. His mother’s schedule changes from week to week, except for Monday and Wednesday. Those are her class days this semester. She gets home by 4pm. Of course, on Wednesday’s, I have to go to my own class then but, Monday evenings I write. The rest of the week, I fit things around her work schedule and the baby’s sleep schedule and the bouncy swing or I write by hand downstairs while he plays. Transcribing that onto the computer gives me an extra opportunity to edit.
A little at a time, I am adjusting. The move has forced me to plan and to concentrate. I can now, at times, shut my door and ignore activity in the rest of the house. I have managed to post three days this week. I can’t exactly say I’m back yet, but I am on my way.