PDA

View Full Version : Writing Isn't A Real Job?



EGParsons
October 26th, 2007, 08:17 AM
:dots:
There are times when I feel I should have a sign attached to my back--a DO NOT DISTRUB sign. Everyone who knows me, knows I write full time. And everyone who writes knows how much work that involves. Not just the writing, but the research, the studying to become a better writer, the rewriting, edits, managing a website, the blogs, promotions, events...ect.

My friends and family are very supportive of my writing, but have no concept of what it means. They don't think of it as a job, so they feel free to call or drop by at any time to shoot the breeze. If I don't answer the phone or the door because I want to finish a chapter before time for my son to come home from school or I'm working on a deadline, they get angry. I work at home and to them that means I don't really work. Writing is fun. If they had time, they'd write a book. Yeah.

Writers don't have time to write. They push and shove until they make time because it's who they are. For many years I worked full time outside the home and had to make time for writing. People would say to me, "Oh you write in your spare time." What's that? Is it left over time? Time that's just sitting there waiting for me? I've looked and looked for this 'spare time'. It must be hiding because I've yet to find it.

It's funny, before I quit my 'job', and began writing full time, they were very considerate of my time. They 'd call ahead and schedule visits and they only called at times when they thought they wouldn't be distrubing me. That's all changed now. One day last week, it took me five hours to write three paragraphs. During those three paragraphs I had four phone calls and two visitors. This was not unusual, just a typical day.

I'm kind of two sided on how I feel about this. I'm always happy to hear from people and thrilled that they want to see me or talk to me. On the other side of the coin, I'm frustrated that they don't truly respect what I do. How do I handle it? Sometimes if I'm working against a deadline--I hide out, don't answer phones or the door. But over the years I've set priorities and at the top of the list are family and friends. People come first. They must, but every once in a while I'd love to wear a Do Not Distrub Sign.

Susan Kelley
October 26th, 2007, 11:52 AM
I know what you mean. I try to use some time on weekends to really make progress on my WIP and do my promotion stuff while I'm fixing dinner after work. I often wonder myself how I get so much done. I don't like writing in little snippets of time, but that's what I get.

rgraham666
October 27th, 2007, 08:28 AM
I can dig it.

Luckily, I'm not close to many people. And my family all lives far enough away that they can't just 'drop in'.

Still, most people's opinions of writing is that it isn't really work.

Nicole Gestalt
October 28th, 2007, 09:04 AM
I find actually that when I tell my friends that I'm a writer they close up and don't speak to me (perhaps worried that I'm going to take something they say and use it I don't know).

I do get the whole - oh well you've not been doing anything all day so you can do this etc.. from the people I'm sharing a house with - and they know I write they just don't think it's a job as such. That annoys me especially when they try and make you feel guilty just because they have been working out of the house. I sometimes wonder if perhaps it would seem like a proper job if I left the house in the morning and spent the day writing in a coffee shop - perhaps they would see it as a serious thing then but I doubt it.

It happens to all writers at some point I think and the only way to really deal with it is to just grit your teeth and get on with it unfortunatly. Unless anyone has any better ways to cope with it in which case let me know!

But we all know your a writer and appreciate all the hard work you put in.

Hippy

EGParsons
October 28th, 2007, 09:28 AM
I understand about the favors. I get that all the time. I really don't mind, except when it's asked in such a way as to imply I have nothing better to do. I got a request like that just the other day. They said they asked me instead of this other family member because the other person was so busy with work and since I don't work, they thought I'd be happy to do it.
:arghhhh:

Lorraine
October 28th, 2007, 10:27 AM
Regarding people not respecting your time and space.....I don't think it's as simple as being a writer. I think much of it has to do with working at home. For instance, if you left your house to sit at your desk at the Washington Post, you'd have the same respect for your personal time as anyone else.

It's the fact that you work at home that makes some people take your career less serious. It's different, of course, if you're a lawyer, a therapist, a hairdresser perhaps because there are clients coming in and out of your house/office/business. Maybe that's a big part of it, too...working solo as opposed to working with the outside world on a steady basis.

emmasanders
October 28th, 2007, 12:06 PM
Good post. I work full time, but I know what you mean about making the time. I don't have spare time, but I make the time, because writing is my passion. Not a lot of people can understand that. Only those with a true passion can.

BTW...I think it's okay to wear a Do Not Disturb sign at times. After all, they couldn't pop in on your "real job" any time they wanted just to chat. :)

Jennifer
November 16th, 2007, 01:11 PM
Oh, I definitely know how you feel! I do medical transcription full time. I can't get a second of peace around here. Family is always popping in and just thinking that I can babysit or drop what I am doing and do this or that or go here or there, especially my husband's family. They don't realize that I am paid on production, not hourly either.

Maura Anderson
November 16th, 2007, 02:49 PM
I find it very interesting that my in-laws have an attitude that I (who work full time in a demanding day job AND write at night) have more spare time than my sister in law who is a stay-at-home mother of 3 kids, all school age who have a lot of sports commitments.

I've never been able to figure that out. Luckily they don't tend to drop in but they do think I can just change plans at a moment's notice to accommodate the latest basketball tournament schedule or some such. Ticks me off sometimes.

I was always raised that it was an imposition to just "drop by" anyone's house without calling and okaying it first. That it was tatamount to saying I was so important they needed to drop everything to suit my schedule.

Maybe it's good that I live in the sticks and am growly. :)

EGParsons
November 16th, 2007, 05:03 PM
Jennifer, I guess it goes back to what Lorraine said. It's not what you do, it's the working from home part that they don't get. But working from home is just that...working.

EGParsons
November 16th, 2007, 05:08 PM
I find it very interesting that my in-laws have an attitude that I (who work full time in a demanding day job AND write at night) have more spare time than my sister in law who is a stay-at-home mother of 3 kids, all school age who have a lot of sports commitments.

I've never been able to figure that out. Luckily they don't tend to drop in but they do think I can just change plans at a moment's notice to accommodate the latest basketball tournament schedule or some such. Ticks me off sometimes.

I was always raised that it was an imposition to just "drop by" anyone's house without calling and okaying it first. That it was tatamount to saying I was so important they needed to drop everything to suit my schedule.

Maybe it's good that I live in the sticks and am growly. :)
Growl.......LOL. Maura, I think it's terrible they feel that way. I did that for many years, (demanding day job and writing for mags and newspapers at night and weekends). It was grueling.

jennzilla
November 21st, 2007, 01:22 AM
I get this too and I work full time and write, full time. Two jobs, right? Right. At least that's how I think of it. I treat chats whether live or loop, as part of my job. They're fun, but if I say I'm going to be there, I make sure and show up. However, when I try explaining to my inlaws, outlaws, crooks and thieves, aka MY FAMILY, that we've got to leave because I've got one, they give me this look that I know means. "Why don't you just admit that you're going home to play on the computer?"

Whatever. :dots:

Just because you work from home, doesn't mean your job isn't as important as anyone else's. If you were doing one of those envelope stuffing jobs, it would be the same thing. They'd impose on your time simply because you work at home. Maybe you should leave the house once in a while, write at the park, or a cafe with internet connection. That way they'd see you as someone who did 'have a job' I know it's not fair, but sometimes it takes that, for them to wake up and say, hey, it's real.

Do not under any circumstances wave a check in their faces. That only leads to them asking for loans. :tt2:

Shelley Munro
November 21st, 2007, 03:23 PM
I feel for you. It must be very frustrating!

I also write full time but don't have the same frustrations as you. To be honest I'm not sure how I've trained them but the first words out of anyone's mouth are usually something along the lines of "have I interrupted your writing?"

I'd suggest writing in a cafe or at a library or something like that so you're not available when family and friends ring or pop around for a visit. Or you could tell everyone that you're working during specific hours and won't be available i.e. work office hours each day. I know that doesn't always work if edits arrive unexpectedly but it might make your visitors think.

Good luck!
Shelley