Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Indulge me, please!!! by Judi Fennell

You may have noticed that I've been scarce around the Casababes lately. No, it has nothing to do with any of you wonderful ladies, or our fabulous readers. Sadly, it's this wicked thing the proverbial "they" call a Day Job.

After waaaaay too many years out of the full time office job pool (let's face it, Mommyhood is a full time job like no other), I've finally taken the plunge back in. Unfortunately, there was no dabbling my toe in to see if the water was warm. No, I did the Nestea Plunge! In my defense, however, I will say that I was tricked.

See, my buddy, Joe, whom I've worked with in the past in my part-time/get-me-out-of-the-house-so-I-have-an-excuse-not-to-clean capacity, called me up last July. "Hey, Jude," (I'll wait why you sing the rest of the chorus from the Beatles' song... like I've never heard THAT before...) "I'm with this start-up company that is growing faster than we can follow it and we really need someone to organize us. Since you're the most organized person I know (God, I am really good at that smoke and mirrors thing, aren't I?), will you come work for me? You can do it part time. Even write while you're here. I just need you to work your magic." (Yes, Joe's been around for the "I want to be a published author" thing through my publication and now onto my second series. He's been a really good sport about listening to all things Romance. Oh, have I mentioned Joe and I worked in a construction trailer together? Not his typical conversation before I entered his life...)

But Joe lied.

Part time? Yeah, that lasted like half a day before I realized they needed me full time. And write? Hello? See above sentence about needing me full time.

Then came along this pesky thing called a "LAYOFF" for my husband, including our health benefits, and, well, when the Universe is knocking on your door, you'd better open it. I work the hours I want (which means, I'm home when the teenagers show up from school with Significant Others - no way am I allowing them to be home alone), I have a varied and interesting job, I like the people I work with, the pay is decent and has the promise of more (see "start-up company"), I get to be a hero (see "need you"), and we have health benefits - that the company pays for. Hubs has since become re-employed, thank goodness, but I'd be foolish to turn down this job.

Unfortunately, that doesn't leave me much time for the rest of my life. Writing used to be my full time job--and it actually still is, but whereas I used to consider promo, critiquing, speaking, conferencing, and writing as the full time part, now the writing itself is the main focus. But add in all the hours I do for the rest of the stuff you have to do as a published author and I end up putting in just as many hours as I did before the Day Job, and still try to be there for the kids, have a marriage, a social life, the rest of my family, and try to find the time to indulge my love of reading. Sadly, the last is falling behind.

I try to stop in here and other blogs/sites where I have a presence, but just keeping up with email is tough these days. And sometimes, I just have to say "forget everything" and take some time for myself. (Thanks to Bravo TV for the Real Housewives franchise. Yes, I know I could use that time to read, but sometimes it's just so much easier to watch mindless television. And those ladies deliver some real mindless moments. And I love every one of them.)

I do open the blog while I'm at work, with the best of intentions, but you know what they say about intentions...

So I'd like to doff my hat to those of you who have been doing this on a daily basis for a long time. It's been a serious learning curve on how to focus my writing, organize my time, and learn to say no or give things up that I haven't wanted to give up.

Cleaning the house isn't one of those things, however. And I did splurge and get a cleaning lady. For that alone, I think I'll keep the Day Job. :)

So how do you full time writers/full time Day Jobbers strike a balance? How do you work in your indulgences?


  1. I get up earlier, go to bed later, catch up on emails during my lunch break. Unfortunately, I can't work on my writing while working. I set weekly writing goals.

    I've been catching up on some movies, answering emails while I do it and making bears for another bear order. I listen to audio books so I can get my reading fix in while driving or doing housework. And I'll read a chapter often of a book I want to read before I drift off to sleep. I've got 2 more published contests to read--so looking forward to reading more books and finding new authors to love.

    When my daughter can manage, we go out to lunch when I'm working. :) I don't know. It all just gets done and I still have fun doing it! :)

  2. The blues you are singing are probably those of half the parents on the planet, which only attests to how genuine the lament is: How do you be creative while raising kids and putting a roof over everybody's head?

    I don't have a TV, DVD, or VCR. I don't get a newspaper, I don't subscribe to magazines. Like Terry, I write at the beginning and end of the day, and the beginning can be 3 am when the press of business is upon me.

    I read and re-read my keepers when I'm too broke to buy books.

    I skip chapter meetings unless they're spot on for my interests. A chapter meeting for me would take up a whole Saturday, which equates to about 4000 words.

    In other words, I hermit as much as I can, even in the midst of chaos.

    Hang in there, Judi. It won't always feel like your life is lived on the end of a rotating helicopter blade.

  3. seriously, Terry, do you sleep???

  4. wow, Grace, no TV? I admire those of you who can do without, but me... spineless and weak when it comes to my reality shows. :) But just to decompress from the day job... I've tried exercising and it just doesn't do it. I need mindlessness for about an hour and I strongly adhere to "all work and no play makes Judi a very cranky girl." And then there's no fun in the writing.

    And more than working parents, it's working SINGLE parents who have garnered my complete and utter, awe-filled, wonderment. How DO you do it?

  5. Great blog post, Judi. I had a similar situation at my day job with the promise of keeping my same hours, with the same result. LOL!

    I totally agree with your parent-spider-sense and wanting to be there when your kids get home with their SO's. ;)

    If there is a secret to the balancing act, I'd love to hear it.

    Good luck, Judi, somehow it will all get done and remember sleep is highly overrated!

  6. Judi, you are amazing. And no, I don't think Terry ever sleeps! I'm constantly humbled by the Wonder Woman abilities of my Casababe sisters!

  7. Hey Judi--I can most definitely relate to your situation! Juggling everything is hard but doable...as you know. I've gotten really good at squeezing productive out of almost every minute. The truth is that sometimes...stuff falls between the cracks. That's life I suppose. BTW..when you wrote "Joe lied." I immediatley thought of that movie Say Anything. Rememeber that song the girl sang? All the lyrics were...Joe Lied. *Sorry* I digress....what was I saying about being productive?/...Look! A squirrel!

  8. Well, if I'm not heartily encouraged by the prognosis for an end to this (eeking out productivity from every second), at least I've got comrades! :)

  9. Well, shhhugar! The computer just ate my comment and I'm sure it was on it's way to an award!
    As I was saying...It is the pits when you are at work and suddenly a scene complete with dialogue pops into your head and you want to go home right then because you know you can write 5000 words so fast that you'll burn up the keyboard (been there when I was working full time, feel your pain)and then the day ends. On the way home you try to grab that thought only to find your brain has developed a Teflon coat and the idea scooted off into that dark corner reserved for "never can remember".
    These days I'm a hermit (Hello Grace) and I LOVE IT! Sometimes I do wear shoes on Sunday.
    Husbands favorite saying before he retired (and people asked him what he'd ever do without teaching) was, "My job interferes with my life."
    Change that slightly to say, "My job interferes with my writing!" and you've got every working writer's motto!

  10. Congratulations on finding a job that you like and just when you needed it! Whew!

    You don't need to worry about your writing getting derailed. Most writer's can't not write. Those characters in your head will pester you until you carve out the time they demand.

  11. I cannot imagine being a mom, working full time, and writing. I used to work full time and write, and I was exhausted. Now I'm a mom and write, and I'm exhausted :-) I used to get up and write before work. That was how I did it. And, honestly, there was no time for indulgence. Still no time!

  12. I so hear your pain, Judi. Before I sold, my DH lost his job and I had to find one pronto. (Oh, the pesky little things like eating three times a day, sleeping indoors and having health insurance are such good motivators!) I've always thought of myself as a morning writing person. Becoming productive in the evening after working 8-5 was a steep learning curve. I'm so thankful for my kids and DH. They took over cooking supper and housecleaning so I could knock out 2 pages a day. Then the DH did laundry on Saturday so I could get another 10. Without my fam's support, I couldn't have done it.

    The experience really made me appreciate the luxury of writing full time. Color me spoiled rotten now.

    Here's hoping the start up pays off so you can devote more time to your fantastic fiction, Judi!

  13. I thank you all for indulging me. :)

    Happy Hump Day!

  14. I'm with you Judi! It is very hard to juggle it all, and most of the time it seems to be falling on my head, not staying in the air. I've learned to guard my time as a precious commodity and do the important stuff first (like hug my kids!).

  15. I don't know about any body else Judi, but anytime you write, I'll be glad to read whatever you have written. Since 'time' is a man made construct, maybe we should petition Congress to introduce a bill that would make our days 30 hours long. More 'time' in a day...right? I figure if they can tell the Sun when to rise and set, hey, why not! lol

  16. There is no balance. My life is no longer my own. It belongs to the various heroes and heroines I happen to be writing about at the time. We've got a couple of TV's, but I rarely watch them. Even when I'm on vacation I'm writing or blogging. It never ends. Just when I think a manuscript is finished, someone asks me for edits or revisions or a blog tour. Am I complaining? Not really. I took this job on voluntarily. I just didn't know it was going to take me on.

  17. Ah, my dream is a cleaning lady, Judi. :} Maybe one day...