Monday, December 21st, 2015

New In, New Out

Monday, December 21st, 2015 02:54 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
About a month and a half ago, I started a new job. It's nothing glamorous, just a part-time gig at the local hardware store, but it's a little steady money coming in, and it's a little me getting out of the house. No question that both of those needed to happen, but I was concerned what the effect on my writing would be.

Well, within the last few weeks, I've gotten un-stuck on the current short story (figured out what the thing my characters were investigating was meant to do, figured out how it tied together with some other things I wanted to include, and worked out how it all gets resolved). I've also, and here's the bit that needs a fanfare playing in the background, gotten un-stuck on the Mars novel! It's been stalled for months because I needed my character to discover a Thing, and while I knew the general parameters and what kind of effect it needed to have, I had no idea what the Thing actually was. And now I do! It fits nicely, it has possible implications for later, and it will really mess with his head.

And I do think the job is why this inspiration is finally happening, or at least a part of it. The amelioration of a certain amount of financial stress is probably a factor (I love doing freelance/contract work, and it's great when the clients are there, but it's a fiscal crap shoot). However, I suspect most of the credit goes to simply getting new input for the brain. It's a lot easier to have new thoughts when the neurons have new things to process, even if it's only where the mouse traps are or what kind of pipe to use for gas vs. water. Like any other part of the body, the brain works better when it's exercised regularly.

On the other hand, having come up with the new idea for the Mars novel, I haven't had a chance to do anything with it beyond the 250 or so words of jotting down the main concept.

The down side is the time management issue. I know lots of writers manage to write around full-time jobs, and I don't pretend my couple of days a week ought to be a major obstacle. But I'm still having trouble finding my footing. I'm not an every-day writer anyway, so the days when I've been on my feet for seven hours are obvious choices for no-writing days. But it seems like all the other demands of life are ganging up and overwhelming the remaining time even more than they already did, and if I do manage to beat them off and declare a writing day, I come up for air to find rubble and chaos everywhere. ;-) Trying to fit in writing in less than all-day chunks hasn't been working at all. Or at least not very well; I'm getting better, but I still need a lot of boot-up time before staring at the screen turns into putting words on it.

So as far as writing is concerned, the job is a net good, because all the writing time in the world won't help if your brain is mired in stale sludge. But all the new ideas in the world won't help if you don't make time to put them to use, either.

I need to be very careful about taking on any new demands on my time (especially this time of year, when baking and crafts will Eat My Life if given half a chance). And I need to establish a better balance of life maintenance and writing.

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