Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Times They Are A Changin' (#IWSG February 2017)

I'm going to keep it short this month.

I'm undergoing some turmoil in my life that will have some drastic effects on my writing habits. I'm just not sure yet what that's going to look like.

One of two things are going to happen: I'm either going to have a lot more free time for writing, or significantly less.

Sorry for the vagueness. There's just a lot up in the air right now so I don't really want to talk about it.  I don't talk much about personal stuff on this blog anyway, so we'll leave it at that.

Anyway, I'm feeling like an idiot right now so let's jump to that handy question...

February IWSG Question: 
How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

Ugh. It has certainly diminished it, that's for sure. To clarify, writing hasn't diminished the quality of my reading, but it has a huge impact on the quantity.

See, with a wife and two young kids and a full-time job and a long commute, I don't have a ton of free time to begin with. After housework and playing with the kids and getting them dressed and ready for bed and packing lunches and whatnot, there is very little time left at the end of the day. My wife and I are lucky we get 30-60 minutes to flake out, and even that isn't a daily occurrence by any means. Once or twice a week if we're lucky.

The only time I have regularly to myself is on my bus ride to and from work, and during that time I have a choice: read or write, and it's a struggle sometimes to decide which to do. It sounds dumb, but this is a legitimate question I have to ask every day when I get on the bus. Do I pull out my laptop to write a chapter, or pull out a book or e-reader? (There's a lot of shit in my bag, it weighs a ton)

This is basically me on my way to work every morning.

There are SO many books out there I want to read, but on the other hand if I DON'T write regularly I just feel lousy. I'm sure most of you understand this - if you're not writing it feels like something is missing in your life. I've tried splitting the time to mixed results; if I write regularly and consistently, I can get a couple thousands words a day, on the bus. But if I only write every other day or in irregular spurts I have to struggle to get a few hundred, as I spend as much time getting back into the story as I do putting down new words. It's so frustrating to have the ideas and no time to put them down on the page.

I make a point of reading a couple of books between projects to reset my brain - I recognize that you have to read to be even a moderately-competent writer, and you need new stories and new ideas to keep your brain juices flowing. Plus, like I said, there are so many books I want to read and enjoy. But man, sometimes I fear I won't have the time to really put into writing (and reading) until I'm retired. Assuming that I'm ever in a position that I'll be able to retire, which at the rate I'm going doesn't look likely...

Anyway. It's a dumb thing to obsess over, but I've been told I worry about dumb things.


The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group here.

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