I wish writing were more like eating. Why is it so easy to eat when I’m not even hungry, but not easy to write when I’m not inspired?
It is effortless for me to make excuses for not writing in a more disciplined fashion. I have a creative, high-energy job that is very much the product of my imagination, the good fortune of having like-minded business partners, hard work, and sheer luck. There are days when I am perfectly fine getting up from my desk at 8:30 pm. It doesn’t matter that it’s too late to cook when I get home, because I can stand in front of the refrigerator peeling off a layer of fresh mozzarella and grab a fistful of cherry tomatoes while my husband brushes his teeth. The working woman’s instant pizza.
Of course there is a choice to be made after I gulp down my Euro supper: I can write, read, watch TV, or pull out my laptop. Here’s how I would like my evenings to unfold when I get home from work:
- Stretch for 10 minutes
- Meditate for 15 minutes
- Cook dinner 7:00-7:30 pm
- Finish eating by 8:30 pm
- Write two pages of anything from 8:30 to 9:30 pm
- Catch up on my pile of New Yorker magazines from 9:30-10:30 pm
- Check email, Twitter, and Facebook 10:30-11:00 pm
- Watch Charlie Rose from 11:00 pm-12:00 am
- Read from 12:00 am -1:00 am
- Sleep until 7:30 am
Part of my excuse cycle is my odd sleeping pattern. This past year I have found staying up late to be very relaxing. It is a time when I can freely communicate with my business partner (via iChat) without anyone hearing our conversation, watch “Entourage” reruns and “International House Hunters” debating whether we should move to Europe or Mexico, all while darting between the New York Times, Paris Match, The Nation, and other assorted Web sites. I often turn out the lights around 2:00 am, wake up at 8:30 am, feel exhausted by 7:00 pm, and would rather make a salad and talk to my husband than write.
One of the most prolific phases in my writing life was when I used to “temp” in-between lackluster jobs. I would write the most florid poetry while my supervisor thought I was correcting PowerPoint slides. I knocked off a screenplay, several short stories, and a TV sitcom treatment entitled “Pastrami University” as I answered phones and pretended to be focused. Looking back, a failed romance and the absence of a fully engaged career provided the motivation and time to write so furiously.
Now it is 12:20 am as I finish this post. My husband is asleep and Saturday Night Live beckons. I’ve written approximately 440 words and that will have to suffice until tomorrow.