Happy Thursday All!
I've got an amazing author
with a great sense of humor
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.