Thursday, October 14, 2004

Sleeplessness

My head is churning story ideas yet again. This would ordinarily be a Good Thing, except it's after 3 a.m. and I'd really rather be dreaming about churning story ideas instead of sitting in front of a whirring box running Wondows XP and (badly) typing them in.

I'm not sure why I've been waking up every night this week for a middle-of-the-night writing festival. It doesn't exactly do wonders for my head the next day, and it nails my productivity in all the extracurriculars of life - you know, the things you try to leave for after the kids are in bed because you really, really need to focus on 'em and can't afford to be interrupted - because by the time the little people are soundly in lalaland, I'm too snoozy to concentrate on anything more involved than covering the surface of a bagel with a relatively even layer of grape jam.

I wouldn't even consider toasting it because the combination of high heat and my general disconnectedness would, at this point in time, result in a lovely burn at the base of my thumb (my toaster oven hates me. I've learned the hard way.)

So here I write, wishing I could sleep instead, yet secretly pleased that I'm up because some of what I'm creating here will someday soon morph into a book. And the sooner I finish my book and publish it, the sooner I can not worry so much about getting up early to go into the office. I'll pay for it tomorrow. But the eventual payoff looms larger on my personal radar.

Which begs the question of why I work at all. Well, from a practical perspective, a 9-to-5 role provides sufficient life-stability while I work on the alternative author-based career path. The need to pay bills and be there for my family doesn't go away simply because I want to write books from my house for a living.

With that in mind, I love my current, "real" job because it allows me to write all day. But I don't love having A Job. I don't love the everydayness of it all, the grinding regularity of trekking into an office and feeling like you need to spend X hours there because, if you don't, you'll be looked at askance. I don't love the resulting silent ignorance of those who put in some hours from home, for those hours never seem to count in the overall march toward that magical 37.5 or 40 hours per week.

Authors don't count hours. They count words. They count the power of those words to move others. The politics of an office space matter less than the ultimate quality of the crafted work. The sooner I move toward a world where what I do matters more than how I do it, the less it will matter that my brain has decided to do its thinking in the middle of the night.

4 comments:

Rachel - Wicked Ink said...

Dreaming about those stories, don't get them written, but you know that already.

Glad to hear about the book morphing... are you going to do NaNoWriMo this year? Have you ever done it before?

Although if you are righting at 3 a.m., it's possible you have a NaNoWriLife...

We don't count hours, which is a good thing, because even those who are fortunate enough to be published, and get and advance and royalties - if we calculated the hours, we might not feel so great about our accomplishments. Kinda like painters.

Can't wait to see your name on the spine of a book.

Mark said...

Thanks for commenting on my pictures!

And good luck with the book. Its tough being an artist in this world, isn't it...

Tara said...

You and me both, Carmi.
I hear that loud and clear.
Write, write, write, write... gotta get there faster... write, write, write..... :)

Carmi said...

Thanks, Tara. I'm glad to know I'm not alone in this quest. Writing can be so solitary at time - OK, all the time - that it's comforting to make contact with other folks like me.

I've gotten to the point that balancing real-writing and blog-writing time is becoming a challenge. I had hoped to somehow use my blog writing to my advantage - in other words, roughly work it out within the blog, then shape it into final form within my manuscript. But the degree of plagiarism that I've witnessed in the blogosphere (not among this trusted group, but among the more itinerant linkers and viewers who think nothing of lifting entire posts and claiming them as their own) scares me into a more conservative approach.

At some point, I'll figure out a balance. Until then, my fingers will work as fast as possible to ensure both pipelines remain filled.