Writing and moonlighting

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

For four glorious years, years that turn more golden the further they recede into the past, I was able to stay home with my kids while my wife worked to support our family. It was fun. It was frustrating. It was four of the best years of my life. When I left my career in IT, I saw it as an opprotunity to become a capital-W Writer. After all, I wouldn't have a job. I'd have all that time to write! I was completely wrong of course. Nap time and occasional babysitter days offered fleeting opportunities to write, but something else always came up: my son didn't feel like sleeping, my daughter wanted a bottle, I had to run errands, I needed a nap myself. I finally resorted to getting up at 5:00 am to write before the rest of the household woke up.

When the economy exploded in 2008, we decided it was time to become a two-income family again. I told myself the silver lining would be more time to write (me and my problems, I know--the salary and benefits were convenient too). I'd be sitting in front of a computer all day, and at the very least I could squeeze in a half hour here and there between putting out fires and meetings about putting out fires. But as I settled into my new routine, I found it just as hard to write, not the least because the work never let up. I wasn't used to the pace. And when I did catch a break, I had trouble switching my brain into writing gear. To make matters worse, my employer blocks Gmail and sites like Google Docs and Dropbox where I can shuttle drafts back and forth to my home computer. I'm back to getting up at 5:00 am again.

Assuming most aspiring Writers have to work a day job for a living, where do we find the time? Do you get up early or burn the midnight oil? The morning slot is my only option now. After a full day at work and the steel cage match getting two kids bathed and ready for bed, I have nothing left in the creative tank. Is it possible to train your mind to turn on a dime and switch gears from spreadsheets to similes, databases to drama? And most importanly, if you have any ninja boss-evasion skills, I want to know.