Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Working Stiff's Frustrations

It's been a long week already, and it's only half over. I've been busy with work commitments (grading papers, coaching, and chasing kids around the dorm), Edgar Award committee obligations, and my daughter's 13th birthday (Could I possibly have a teenager already? Where did those years go?).

These are my excuses for not getting a lot of pages written this week. Good excuses? Is there such as thing as a “good” excuse? No doubt my daughter's birthday qualifies, but, despite having my story “Shooter” come out in AHMM this week, I'm frustrated, nonetheless.

Years ago, I read an interview with Bruce Springsteen in which he insisted the only thing an artist needed fame and fortune for was to provide time to write—money is freedom, after all. Most writers I know walk the same day-job/fiction-writing tightrope I do. Time, therefore, becomes the Holy Grail we all chase. Richard Seizer, in his wonderful essay “The Pen and The Scalpel,” discusses his struggle to balance his job as a surgeon with his family and his writing career—a struggle that has him going to sleep when his family does, waking to write for a couple hours during the night, then going back to sleep for three more hours before leaving for work. A seemingly insane routine, but one that afforded him the time (and energy) to write.

In the end, all we can do is our best to balance it all. Contrary to the Springsteen interview, I once read a feature about a best-selling author and television producer—married with several children—who said he worked a 9-to-5 job writing TV scripts, then came home each day and wrote fiction all evening and into the night. I was left wondering what his kids thought of that schedule.

Certainly, I have no right to question someone else's priorities. But I do know my own. The birthday party is over, and I’ve had enough blogging for one busy week.

I'm going back to work on my novel.

1 comment:

Rick Blechta said...

I am so with you on this.