Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Math of a Working Writer

Happy Thursday All!
I've got an amazing author 
with a great sense of humor
to 
share with you.
Welcome Anthony J. Rando!
I couldn't stop laughing when I read his post.
I do hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
 * * *

Shortly after I self-published my first book, someone asked me, “What do you do?”

On a (mildly egotistical) whim, I answered, “I’m a writer.”

“Oh,” they replied. “So you’re unemployed?”

I would love to say that I was taken aback by this statement, but I can’t. It was almost as if to say that if you claim you’re a writer, you must have copious amounts of free time—or else you must be famous, and they saw what kind of car you drove here in.

Frankly, I’m neither unemployed nor a bestseller, so in order to continue working as a writer, I have to keep my regular day job. When I tried to schedule writing time into my life, it seemed impossible. But I’ve always been good at math.

There are 168 hours in a seven-day week. Forty of those hours, I work my regular desk-jockey day job. I commute 20 minutes each way to work, five days a week, which totals 3.3333 (repeating) hours of driving just for that. Sometimes there’s traffic. Let’s call it four.

I’m relatively young and can get away with six hours of sleep most nights, but no less because despite my best efforts, which include a lot of eye-squinting and grunting, I’m not getting any younger. I estimate that I sleep about 48 hours a week.

For those keeping track, we’re down to 76 hours. And yes, I’m going somewhere with this.

Unfortunately, I have to allot time every day for those annoying little habits, things like eating, drinking, and using the facilities. Include prep-time (that’s meal prep, not bathroom prep) and I would say that’s a solid two hours a day. That’s 14 hours a week, and just like that, there’s only 62 hours left.

I do some freelance journalism work for a couple of news websites, on which I probably spend 10 to 15 hours a week. I’m also an assistant teacher in a martial arts class that meets twice a week for two hours, which brings us down to around 43.

I don’t have children yet (thanks to the smiling fortune of the gods of Premium Contraceptives), but I do live with my girlfriend, and while she is not particularly high-maintenance, I do have to pay attention to her sometimes, and you know, do stuff with her. So let’s call that a few hours a day, maybe four or five on weekends, and faster than you can say “lousy boyfriend” I’m down to somewhere around 18.

Now if we add in a “miscellany” column that includes the likes of grocery shopping, bar hopping, seeing friends, the occasional barbecue, visiting my parents, driving to all these places, watching TV, reading, fielding phone calls, and banging my head against the wall in the hopes of dislodging a muse…. Good gravy, where did the time go?! Suddenly it seems impossible to balance such a life.

But… as I claimed earlier, I’m a writer.

And a writer writes. That’s probably the most simple form of the definition: a writer is one who writes. Even as I write this sentence, I am one who writes. I love to write. It makes me happy. I like to stop writing and read back what I’ve written. Point is, as a writer, I have an obligation to myself, and I believe that I have some sort of obligation to others (even if they keep reassuring me that I don’t).

Anyone who calls themselves a writer has a purpose, whether it be to entertain, to educate, to captivate, to excite… They write because they have something to say. We write because we want people to read what we say.

I manage to balance the rest of my life with writing because I treat writing like it’s part of my job. I have to work, and I have to write. Whether it’s in the morning somewhere between walking the dog and showering, or in the evenings before I go to bed, I write.

Despite everything else, and as impossible as the math seems to be, I somehow find the time. Kindred spirits in my writing groups have asked, “How do you find the time?” I honestly don’t know. The math is baffling.

But I know that I have to find the time. Because I’d like to continue being able to tell people that I’m a writer, even if that means they’ll assume I’m unemployed.
____________________
Anthony J. Rando lives in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. He is a freelance writer, an amateur filmmaker, and a novelist. His latest book, The Surreal Chronicle of the Revelers is the first in a series. He invites readers to email him at anthony.rando@gmail.com or visit his blog at http://anthonyjrando.blogspot.com/.

You can also find him at his Amazon author page at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0066SVF4K

5 comments:

  1. Do I ever know this math! Sometimes I also procrastinate by trying to work out the creation of a 36 hour day, or poking at writers block. So that takes a few hours here and there.

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  2. It is really strange to read other people how difficult it is for them to write, because they have to work in the daytime. Well, I am sorry for them, I really am. But...
    You see, I battle for 2 years a disease and when I came out of it and realised that i am still under the living, I decided to write. It was always a passion from my youth.
    I started to write short stories for competitions. I never got the first price but many very good comments. Like, I am on the right track, never stop writing, you get there.
    And so, from that point on I never stopped writing and developed the Talon series. And now i am a published author. Not yet famous, but it's still to come. I believe that with all my heart.
    I am not working, can't go working, just sit on my computer and write. But still, i have to do a lot on the daytime, being Mum to twin girls, being there for my husband and so on. Some days i can't write at all, but some days all day long. It's great, but the desease i had is always there and it is hounting me.
    The first book in the Talon series is available at amazon.com and all the other Internet outlets. I also have very good, 5 out of 5 stars revies. they are all in my website.
    Hope to hear from you.
    Gigi

    My facebook Page
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Talon/135624816470795

    My website
    http://www.writersportal.org/Gigi

    my blogspot
    http://maticatalon.blogspot.com.au/

    and i am following you now.

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  3. Nicely stated, Anthony. A fun read.

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  4. Make that two votes for a fun read.

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