Last night did not go well. As anybody who’s been here for the last few weeks knows, I just began a new job on Wednesday, which puts me back to working a normal M-F 8-5 workweek. Previously I was working evenings from 5:30-9:30 and weekends, while my husband worked 7-3 M-F. This previous schedule worked out wonderfully for my writing because he was out of my hair for long stretches at a time, and I was even able to write at work frequently. Well with the new job I have lots of actual work to do, so no more writing on the job. And now he’s home when I get home and expects attention.
So as I said, last night did not go well. It took me 4 hours and 20 minutes to get my words written, between cooking and eating diner. And when I finished at 9:20, I had a really angry husband to deal with because I had “ignored” him all night. I feel I should also mention that we don’t go to bed early around here. I fully expected to be able to spend at least a couple of hours with him before hitting the hay. But that wasn’t how he saw it. We wound up not even doing the things we’d planned to do because he was in such a bad mood. We finally apologized–he for getting mad, and I for ignoring him (even though I told him on the front end that I had to get in my words for the day). But we’re not any closer to a solution to this problem.
I will still need to get my words of the day written when I get home from work. Some days that will go quickly, and others will be more like last night. This is a priority for me, period. And now its a conflict because I don’t have time away from him in which to do it. Obviously, my marriage is a priority as well. So is keeping house, doing laundry, the cooking, etc. And it will get worse once my 2 sections of general psych start on the 20th, and I have time that needs to be devoted to teaching and class preparation. I need a 36 hour day. Seeing as the earth is not about to change its rotation in my honor, I’ve got to come up with some sort of solution.
Previously I would work in the living room, at least physically present. But that left him mad because he’d try to talk to me and I had totally tuned him out. I thought shutting myself in my office would help, since he couldn’t talk to me and distract me. But our interior walls aren’t especially well insulated, so I can hear everything he says or does even with the door closed. I work so much better when there are no distractions. I was all excited to have the house to myself for a few hours today while he was out helping his parents with some stuff. And he’s already called 3 times and broken my concentration.
And everyone wonders why I’m cranky today? (As if the two automated phone calls that we got between 8 and 8:30 this morning weren’t enough?)
I don’t know what the solution to this problem is. I know we’re going to have to sit down and talk about it. And I know he will continue to pay lip service to supporting my writing (and he DOES support what I’m doing)–but I have a feeling that he means so long as it doesn’t take away from time with him. Which would be a death knell to my daily writing. And he does NOT understand that when I say I have to write 500 words a day, that if I write 1000, I can’t take the next day off. Or if I miss a day, he thinks I can make it up later. Nope, that’s not how it works. The point of a daily writing goal is to keep me immersed in the story. I keeps me moving forward mentally, if not in actual words. Because when I don’t write every day, I get out of their heads and it takes forever to get back in. And that usually requires a full read-through, which also takes more time…and it’s just inefficient. Better to sit down and do it every day.
A dear poet friend of mine has a saying:
Poetry is a bitchy mistress.
The same can be said for writing fiction. I’m beginning to feel like I’m having an illicit affair with my work. And the thing that absolutely astonishes him is that I don’t feel guilty about it. Instead of apologizing, I am apt to defend my work habits. Which all makes him feel like he takes a backseat to my work. Which is a valid concern, I suppose. But damn! Of course I would rather be working on my book than watching some stupid t.v. show and not actually interacting with him (because this is often what hanging out means in our house). And this is reason #586 for why I am not ready for children. Because that will cut down on my already incredibly limited time to write.
So, anyway, as I said, I don’t know what the answer is, and I have a feeling we’ll be having a family conference about it this weekend because I want this settled. I want something accepted and set in stone so that he doesn’t get pissed at me for doing exactly what I have said I am going to be doing.
I am completely open to suggestions. How do the rest of you juggle family, the work that pays the bills, and your writing?