Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Knock-Down Drag-Out

The two halves of my brain have been fighting lately.

Well, maybe "halves" isn't appropriate - it's not like the left and right hemispheres of my brain are warring with each other. I can still read and write and fake math problems with a calculator (as long as they're not more than elementary math, heh). But I do have two distinct sections of my brain devoted to work - one side for the Clark Kent job, which is a sales and marketing position, and the other for my writing career.

As you guys know, there's a lot more to a writing career than just making things up and writing 'em down - there's also blogging, which takes up a couple hours a day (it's not the posting that's the time-suck so much as reading other blogs and commenting), revising and editing, reading my writing colleagues' work and commenting/offering suggestions, and a hundred other miscellaneous tasks which I take on with joy. You feel me, don'tcha? Sure you do.

The regular-paying job is completely different - I go out on sales calls, book events, talk with clients, send emails, compile sales reports, build spreadsheets, organize mailouts, distribute fliers and coupons, set up corporate sponsorships, design ads, network with local businesses... well, you get the idea. "Sales Director" is the title, and it's a huge umbrella which a lot of different responsibilities fall under. Lately we've lost a few people at the bowling center, so I'm also pulling extra shifts and wearing a manager hat, as well.

You guys know I've been working on the novel diligently and want to have it finished by the first of May. (Which reminds me, I need to work in a status update for y'all - just gotta figure out which letter of the alphabet I can use, right, Arlee? Ha!) Since I've been working so much over the last few weeks, the forward momentum has really slowed down and it's now a struggle to produce as much as I want. I'm just so tired when I get home, I don't even want to do anything but collapse and sleep. Not even zone or watch television or anything... just sleep.

I'm frustrated. I don't have a choice about working for a living right now, and I refuse to stop writing. But the regular-paying job is sucking up my energy reserves and my headspace right now. This is why I got out of Corporate America! So I could have a low-stress job which - while it may not pay much - gives me the time and brain capacity I need to really focus on what's important to me professionally (which has absolutely nothing to do with the bowling industry).

I just want to WRITE. Sometimes I wish I could flash forward a year or two, and get past all this stress (especially the pressure I keep putting on myself to complete the WIP and stay on my timeline for going down to the SC Writers' Conference in October). I've worked every day for the last two weeks, and I'm burned out. The two parts of my brain respectively dedicated to my job and my career (two entirely different things) are fighting constantly, bickering and sniping at each other. Sooner or later they'll have a knock-down drag-out fight. It's ok, though.

I already know who's gonna win.

How about you? This was primarily a "venting" kinda post... got anything that's really frustrating you at the moment? Need to have a knock-down drag-out with yourself about something? Feel free to get it off your chest.


Arlee Bird said...

Sounds like you deserve a good vent. I have to admire all of you who have a regular job and are doing A to Z at the same time--not to mention all of those other writing activities that you mention. I'm currently unemployed and I'm spending about 12 hours a day on things related to just this blog challenge-- couldn't do it if I was still working my old job.

Hang in there! Hope that one day writing will be your primary income and you can focus on that. And you will probably still be busy.
Blogging From A to Z April Challenge

Beth Zimmerman said...

It is hard to fit it all in! Maybe cut yourself some slack commenting on others for a bit and focus on what you need to do/write/etc. for YOU! Dunno!

Talli Roland said...

That's one scary photo you've got with this post!

I would love to shut up the side of my brain that says: 'Wouldn't it be nice to have some money? You know, to actually buy something without worrying about it? You can, you know. Just go back to work! Do some contracting! Your writing won't suffer.'


Helen Ginger said...

Sounds like you need a break. Not necessarily a big one, but maybe an hour or two to re-energize. Do something totally un-book related, like napping in a hammock or slipping on head phones and spacing out to your favorite music or even watching a favorite movie. You don't want to burn out.

Straight From Hel

Raquel Byrnes said...

Keep to your schedule, muscle through it. As my dad, the marine, uset to say...Pain is weakness leavning the body.

You can do it...you'll be happy come conference time.

Unknown said...

I feel your pain and frustration for sure!!! I'd love to focus primarily on writing but that doesn't pay my bills so I can't!

I hate that my husband is forced by his crappy company to work overnights so we don't see eachother Monday thru Friday and now they want to make him work Saturdays as well so I only see him one day a week! It kills me I pray everyday for a new job and I hope one comes! Patience is something I wish I had but not seeing him kills!

Thanks for letting me vent!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I work 12 hour days, running rare blood throughout S.W. Louisiana plus doing the 1001 other duties of a blood tech. I do this blog and try to comment when I think it would help, and I query agents and write on my novels.


I wrote that to let you know that I know in some small way how it is to need to make a living, want to be a considerate blogger, and still write my WIP, while hawking my already finished novels to agents drowning in a sea of unsolicited manuscripts.

It all too often seems like agents are saying, "If I don't want your autograph, then I don't your manuscript."

Take a moment to draw in a deep breath. There is beauty all around you, people next to you who need the affirmation of being actually seen as a person not backdrop in the lives of hurried others, and remember that huge projects get done one small task at a time. What is that mantra I say? "Inch by inch and it's a cinch." Silly. But a mirage has gotten many a thirsty wanderer across the desert.

Hang in there, your friend, Roland


I suppose you can say I'm lucky, being retired I can blog to my hearts content, write my poetry,
walk along the beach which is nearby, visit my children/grandchildren yet to get an appoinment at the doctor's when needed I have to wait 2 weeks.
One can't be ill to suit the doctor!!!
Ah that feels better.
Have a nice day,

Elana Johnson said...

I'm with you. I just want to stay home, in my pj's, and write. Maybe go to lunch everyday. I so wish money didn't run the world.

Sophia said...

I'm in a good place right now (knock on wood) which leaves me able to take on a more supportive role. I agree with Helen, it does sound like you need some you time. Even if it's just a walk outside. Exercise and fresh air and maybe you'll see or hear (or smell?) something that will inspire you and when you get back writing won't be a chore because the ideas will just be there. Or eat your lunch somewhere different, preferably somewhere pleasant. Just some thoughts.
- Sophia.

Courtney Barr - The Southern Princess said...

PREACH ON!!! ;o)

Yes yes the day job can truly ruin a good day can't it?

I understand your dilemma, I spend time as referee to that fight much more than I should.

It is a balance that I would love to change in many ways but in some, for now, it is where I need to be. Not just because the dayjob = $$ but because it provides inspiration. When I write a scene and need aggravation to come through the page I can look to maybe...Friday's meeting. My own feelings or watching the facial expressions of others adds value & honesty to my work. So I use it.

It doesn't always make the lack of balance easier but it does take the edge off...

As for at the immediate moment: Nope no aggravations - since the Blogger Gremlins are no longer mad at me & my blog layout is back to normal I feel it unnecessary to be ill. (I just have to remember to not feed them after midnight again...) ;o)

So glad to have discovered your blog & thanks for visiting the Kingdom.

Visit My Kingdom Anytime

Unknown said...

That's a lot going on for you right now...it's no wonder you're too tired to do anything at the end of the day!

I hope it all levels off and you are able to reach your goal of completing the book by May 1!

Right now the only knock-down dragout I'm having is trying to decide if I want to keep working until this baby comes or give my body a break and take a couple weeks off before!

Have a blessed day!

Unknown said...

I hear ya! There's never enough time or energy in a day. Never. But I make sure I accomplish a little writing every day, more on the days I can. It's a priority for me, more important than sleep. (Usually :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Helen's suggestion is a good one. Go do something totally unrelated to either job or writing. I usually go to the gym after work and it not only relieves stress, but it give my brain a chance to chill for a bit. Then I feel refreshed for the evening.

Anonymous said...

I can completely see how having a day job can suck out any creativity. When I was working FT, my day job demanded all of the creativity I had and then some. I am using all of my creativity at the moment to manage a budget and juggle part time jobs to not have to go back to the full-time one, though I realize I am incredibly lucky to have a husband who does work the full time one. As for your update... I suggest N for News, S for Status Update or U for update... depending on when you want to update! :)

Hart Johnson said...

B. I TOTALLY know about the day job (and I have kids, though I mostly ignore them, which is what they prefer)... maybe try smaller bites? Different times of day? I know there are no reserves left after a long day of work (30 minutes BEFORE work?) You can fit in a LITTLE. It probably isn't as much as you'd like, but making sure to keep going (even a page a day) will keep you from losing your place so you don't have to catch up on weekends. (I have a marketing background too, but left advertising when I went to grad school--there is NO WAY that fits well with writing, but it IS fabulous character and situation fodder, as many people are familiar.

You'll get there, my friend. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

Jemi Fraser said...

There's zero chance of me quitting my day job for a couple of reasons. 1 = money! 2 = I love it!

But I would love, love, love to find more time for writing! I need more time. It's so hard :)

Lisa said...

I just need a job, can I have yours? (i kid)

Great post and I know we ALL feel that way at times. You'll get there, just keep pushing.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

What jazzes you up? When you feel wiped out, do something that excites you and gets you going again.

Laura S. said...

Venting is part of the writing process! I admire you for working AND still writing. Blogging is a part-time job all on its own, ha.

Thanks for commenting on my blog even though you're superduper busy! I wondered why you weren't showing up on my Zigzaggers blog list so I could return the favor. Well, I'm a dummy, that's why. I'd read your blog a few days ago but forgot to follow! My smarty pants are back on (I think) and I'm a follower now!

Ella said...

Your yin and yang are fighting! Sorry, that sounds like a tough battle. What if you treat it like
exercise, just write for 10min, see what happens. What do you enjoy doing, other than what you mentioned?
Something you use to do to decompress
sometimes we need a diversion to snap us out of our frustration.

Me, I have 2 deadlines with artsy type swaps and everyday lately is a drama. It started a week ago, the new roof we put on our house, well, they shot a nail through the copper piping and hit the freon.
We hit record high heat, no AC, broke. We are now trying to get repair $ back from a large home improvement chain. When, I was told the damage($), our town shut the water off. It is 84 in my house and now I have no water! Yesterday, I thought I would get my stuff done, and the power was off for 4 1/2 hrs(car accident) hopefully no one hurt, don't know the details yet.
My daughter broke her glasses so had to run to get that taken care of. Maybe tomorrow, I can finish up... in the mean time,a friend wants me to make stuff for a gallery; you summit to a jury for selection. It seems like this month is still playing April Fool
jokes on me(remember you asked)~

Debra Harris-Johnson said...

It will all work itself out, it usually does. Enjoyed the visit and I will be "following" your progress.

B. Miller said...

Every single one of these comments helped me to feel better about this whole situation today. I can't thank you enough for your kind words and encouragement.

It also meant a lot that some of you were willing to share your vents! I'm really glad to see y'all express yourselves. :D THANKS!!


Kierah Jane Reilly said...

B - have you read Nathan Bransford's most recent post? it's about Jane Yolen's key to a successful career. she calls it BIC - Butt In Chair. there are days when I don't feel like writing or everything is sounding crappy and there are too many places in my book where I've got parantheses with "backstory here" or "angry dialogue here" or "add description" because I don't want to write that section just then. but I try to write everyday. even if I end up deleting it all the next day. and you're so close! you've already written so much already which is further than most aspiring writers have gotten! just power through it! write just 250 words a night. then if you end up writing 300 then you've already exceeded your goal! just don't stop!! you're a great writer and I love reading your posts. you can do this!

Jessica Bell said...

I know EXACTLY how you feel. I'm struggling in the exact same way as you right now.

All I want to do is write, but I have my day job looming over me 24 hours a day. I work from home so I can't ever really escape it.

A lot of people think that working from home is ideal. In some respects it is, but in others it's not. You can't 'get home' from work and stop thinking about it because work is always in the next room waiting for me. And then when I do sit down to write, I feel guilty because there is 'work' waiting to be done that is actually going to pay the bills - WHEN I submit it.

Creative Chronicler said...

Like you time is a struggle. There are just not enough hours in the day to get everything done. So I frustrtate myself a lot with trying to juggle everything. As for warring sides of the brain, my visual and my literary side are at odds. I have to shut one down to really do well with the other, ie when I'm drawing or painting I can't write on those days and when writing I can do artwork, atleast not well.

Anonymous said...

Having a real job is indeed a time suck. I've benefitted from a layoff and severance package to write my book. Now I work part-time for my wife and although I need the $$$ its definately a time suck. Sucks. But keep onkeeping on. You've got a great blog.

Stephen Tremp

Megan Bostic said...

I am frustrated that I do not have the time to accomplish everything I want/need to. I totally feel you on the blogging thing. Writing my blog takes WAY less time than reading everyone else's blogs. But you have to. It's like a reciprocal agreement.

But trying to revise, write something new, blog, read, clean, run errands, etc, etc, etc. I need about six extra hours in my day. I petitioned God for it awhile back, but he told me if it ain't broke, don't fix it. :)

Lola Sharp said...

Truly, this is a universal struggle. (wait until you have kids!! it gets WORSE. Sleep deprivation becomes the new normal)

My best suggestion is to take a break from all the blogging and commenting. Unplug for a few days. We'll all be here when you come back. And we ALL unplug sometimes. We understand. As you get more followers, it becomes harder and harder to keep up. So, I hope you are using a reader, and put them in folders. It helps save time. Don't feel guilty if you can't make it around to everyone you love for every post.

Also, eating healthy, and getting some excursive is vital to keeping your energy up. A daily multivitamin, too.
And get some sleep.

And, as Helen mentioned, get away from all of it and rest, play.


Creative Chronicler said...

Had to come back when I saw Lola's comment (by the way I LOVE that name, have a great dane named Lola). Anyways, Lola mentions a reader and folders, I'm feeling blonde & bloggy challenged, someone tell us more about this... where do I get one and how do I set it up?

PS to Lola- took a quick glance at your blog and will be back later tonight to read & comment. Looks fabulous.

Hannah said...

Yes, I would love to stay home and write. My real job takes up time and energy that I would love to just focus on writing. But that's the name of the game until I can make writing a full time job. It does make it hard to "climb that ladder" when it's not where your heart and soul lies. It makes my free time precious and does help me focus my priorities but still sometimes, it's all too much and you just need to stick your head under water, scream and go about your day. :)