Who is a Stay-At-Home Writer?

For many writers that is the goal–unlimited time to stay at home and write, free from financial distractions that cause one to have to divide their time and interests. For most writers, families are okay as a distraction, or at least tolerable. There are some distractions that we accept.

But having to support a household, a good eight hours or more a day, then commuting, plus the time it takes to get your head into a writing space and out of the everyday world is almost unbearable. In the end, the job often becomes the nemesis of writing.

It’s something I fight frequently. I know my best writing time, but that’s usually also my best catchup time. Freeing my mind from daily clutter to settle into writing is a constant challenge. I often think if I didn’t have to hold down a full-time job, I would have plenty of time to write.

So the question is, do you actually write when you have writing time? Or do you put it off thinking you have plenty of time so you’ll do a few other odds and ends first? Take a run, play golf, watch TV, read a book, call a friend, run to the story, bake cookies, plan a schedule.

I have two major time wasters: TV and organizing. If I cut back on both I’d have a lot more time to write. I find the days I have at home that I actually watch more TV and spend more time organizing, not really writing.

So how do you do it? If you are a stay-at-home-writer, how do you avoid the pitfalls? If you work full-time, how do you carve out writing time? How do you determine what you do to be a writer?

It turns out there are many writers who continue to work at another job even after their writing affords them financial freedom. There’s an interesting article in The Atlantic today on just this topic. Deciding that what it takes to be a writer doesn’t mean staying at home–it means writing and a state of being, not just doing.

So what are you being?

The Rats Ate My Homework

image from matt@ratsauce.com

Since May, our family life and my work life have been somewhat crazy. It started somewhere around the time when a rat fell through the screen of my open window and landed on my head just before daylight, while it was still and dark and eerie. Yeah, I get that same reaction every time I tell the story. So I flipped on the light and jumped out of bed, all the while saying, “It was a nightmare! It was a nightmare! It was a nightmare!” Then I saw the rat run across the floor looking for a way out. Me too. I ran through the door looking for a way out. Thus began a very dark saga, think Stephen King or Moses and the plagues–the end result was that we got out of Egypt, so to speak.

That series of events set off a tornado of changes in our lives, one of those being moving. Instead of rats over our heads, we now have jet planes. Let’s hope one of them doesn’t fall through the window.

During this time, along with the bad, I’ve been blessed with a lot of good. Some of it has been the opportunity to conduct several presentations on The Writer’s Compass. I’ve met some great people and I’m looking forward to more–both presentations and meeting great people. (For more details of the IWOSC and Literary Feasts events, please see my post at http://www.thewriterscompass.com/2011/11/the-rats-ate-my-posts/.)

So all is well, and I’m getting back to business, no more rats, the homework is safe.