dianne salerni author
dianne salerni author

 

hourglassI was pondering that question this weekend when I ignored my lengthy To Do list on Sunday afternoon and read a book for fun.

I felt guilty about it. Because, you know, I quit that lucrative teaching gig to do this writing thing.

Yes, I had other reasons for leaving a profession that was rapidly heading in a direction I didn’t want to go. That doesn’t take the feeling of pressure off.

WHAT I NEEDED TO DO ON SUNDAY:

  • Figure out where I’m supposed to go next in the 1st draft of my WIP
  • Do the background reading I need for two potential projects and take notes
  • Write my blogs for the week
  • Research pricing for school visits and start putting together promotional information
  • Research a list of people to contact for school visits
  • Stop freaking out and thinking I will never again have another good idea or finish another book

WHAT I DID INSTEAD:

  • Read a book in my hammock

As a teacher, I often worked past school hours. I had lesson planning to do, papers to correct, grades to enter online. But I limited the time I spent on schoolwork at home. I hardly ever checked my work email from home. I portioned out what I brought home to grade, and lots of times I never even took it out of my bag — carried it back to school uncorrected — and never felt guilty. Teaching was my job, not my life.

But writing — I did that in all the spare moments of my day. Those evenings when I didn’t grade the papers I brought home, I was probably writing instead. I squeezed writing in every second I could. I had no choice.

So how do I wrap my mind around the idea that writing is my job now — and that it should get a portion of my day, but not all of it? I don’t have to squeeze it in anymore, and so I shouldn’t work on it every second I’m not doing something else.

Do I establish “office hours” for writing? How do I accommodate my penchant for blogging over coffee in the morning, but writing first drafts late at night? Is it not the time of day, but the number of hours that count?

Do I tally up the hours I spend working this new job and when I reach my limit, close the computer and say, “No more today?”