Since the dog got me up around 5 this morning, you’d think I’d be up writing. Unfortunately, I don’t write particularly well this early. My brain is still very concrete, only good for dealing with things like the acquisition of caffeine and catching up on deleting useless e-mail.
Some writers can write anywhere and anytime. They can write in a crowded subway train where someone’s playing the bongos. They can go to a coffee shop and not be distracted by every movement of every person nearby. They can write at midnight, at noon, and during the olympics.
Now, I can edit just about anywhere, although editing while driving is just not a good idea. I can mentally compose writing ideas just about anywhere. But actual writing is a different thing.
I’m one of those writers who needs a block of time and relatively few distractions to write. Mock me all you want, but by my age I have a pretty good idea what works for me. The great difficulty has always been finding this elusive block of time.
I do best in the evening, and hence I see very few prime-time TV shows. Unfortunately, since the dogs think the day starts about 5AM, I really can’t stay up past midnight any more. That was when I did a lot of my writing when I was younger. (This makes me sound old. ::sighs::) My second best time period is 2-5 PM, when the dogs are comparatively quiescent.
But the basic truth is, if you’re going to carve out writing time, you’re going to give up something else. This is your Opportunity Cost.
I’ve given up prime time TV (except for Big Bang Theory). The husband and I decided that we could make it without my teaching income to buy me more time, so we gave up that money (we were fortunate in that he has a comparatively secure job.) My husband understands that the floors won’t be spotless, the blinds may not be dusted, and the baseboards will remain dirty at all times. (Dinner will be on the table, bills will be paid, dogs will be cared for, laundry and dishes will be done, yard will be taken care of…but other things aren’t as vital.)
So for me, the opportunity cost paid has worked out. I have a book deal. I’ve sold a dozen or so stories for a decent amount of money (although to be perfectly honest, I’m probably making something like 5 cents an hour, given my research time.) I’ve been fortunate.
But pretty much any gamble taken in life is a gamble. You just have to decide if you’re willing to risk your opportunities to spend your time writing.