In the 17 months since I retired teaching to write full-time, I’ve heard that sentence from more people than I care to mention. Some of them friends and family. Some of them people who want to be writers.
“Do you know what your sister has done now?”
When I answered the phone, it was the equivalent of standing up at work and walking out the door mid-day, without asking the boss if I could leave or explaining why.
My office is at home. It’s a dedicated space where I work. But it is an office. And from 9 AM until 5 PM, I’m in it. Working. Writing is work, at least it is if you hope to be published. Writing doesn’t happen by osmosis.
Ask any published author, and they will tell you: writing is all about putting your butt in the chair and writing. Which is what I do. I document my hours for the IRS to prove that while I am self-employed, I do have a profession. A job. And from 9 AM until 5 PM, unless something is burning down or someone is dying, I’m at work.
And I don’t care what my sister did now.
This past week has been frustrating for me because non-writing things have crept into my office time. It’s dangerous to allow it to happen, and my word count has suffered in the last week because of it. This creep, this time-suck can happen to anyone.
How do you avoid it? Set your hours. Learn to say no. The people that matter in your life will learn to understand…Writing is a job. Art is a job. _______ is a job. Distractions only work because we allow them to do so.
Let this Monday be a good Monday–rededicate yourself to your profession, whatever it may be. Put your proverbial “butt in the chair” and do what you do best.