Buffy: “I’m just saying it doesn’t make any sense. He starred in The Matrix but he never left town. And how’d he graduate from med school? He’s only eighteen years old.”
Xander: “Effective time management?”
— ‘Superstar’, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
So there’s ‘interruptions still exist’, and then there’s this: I’m a procrastinator. I’m guessing a lot of you are, too.
I’m a believer in working with procrastination, which means that sometimes I do things at odd times and try to keep busy enough to always have something to do when I’m avoiding doing something else. It’s not a foolproof system by a long shot and I’m constantly reassessing and readjusting how much ‘busy’ is good and how much will make my head explode, and then lamenting a sense of getting nothing done, but . . . okay, it’s a mess some of the time. But it’s at its least messiest when there are a lot of things to do.
It’s one of those time-management things (and I love effective time-management, so I do. I aspire to it. Dream about it.) – when you have hours and hours to do one thing, you put it off. If it’s not definite, if it’s not concrete, it’s more difficult to actually get it done.
And when you have one thing to do, one work-thing anyway – it becomes the thing you have to do. It can become a burden, something you dread doing, the thing that hangs over you ominously.
Even if you love it.
Many full-time writers and part-time writers address this by still having lots to do: doing the promotional/finance/admin stuff, doing copy-edits on one book when not redrafting another, or vice-versa. But there are still long chunks of time where writing – just writing – is the one thing that needs to be done. It has to be done.
Now, writing has to be done when you’re under contract, regardless of the amount of time you have in your life to do it. It has to be done if you want to finish something, polish something. But if it has to be done to keep a roof over your head . . .
There are more than enough ways of putting yourself and your writing under pressure without adding that to the mix.