Friday, September 5, 2014

When did I shower last?

By JC Lynne

I’m writing for the first time in a week. The act and energy of the process eludes me. The cardinal rule of writing, according to articles, is don’t quit your day job. My hubby, The Beard, and I discussed the pros and cons of quitting my teaching gig. We performed a cost benefit analysis considering mental/emotional state, the teenage state of our two boys, my newly published novel and our spending habits.

We discovered we could live on The Beard’s salary. I’d have to clean the house, ugh. We’d cut our wine clubs and reduce eating out. The conversations about my employment as a full-time writer scared me. I've been working since I was fifteen. I felt being dependent on The Beard would strain our relationship. He assured me my frustration with teaching was the bigger worry. We bucked convention, and I quit my job.

I haven't found my rhythm. Teaching offered its crazy routine. I woke at 4:30 am to hit the gym and was showered by 6. I made coffee, lunch and breakfast for offspring. I’d stumble home around 4:30 or 5 if I wasn't directing a play, sponsoring student council events or dealing with parents or staff meetings. Dinner would be around 6, and I’d collapse unconscious by 8 pm. That was my routine from mid-August to May 28th. Add driving three kids to and from basketball, school plays, soccer, volleyball, choir/band concerts, never mind getting doctors and dentists scheduled. Oh, and I wrote a novel.

The Beard declared me insane.  I agree. I barely get things done now. I've no idea how I managed for ten years.  I don’t have to be up at 4:30, but some days I’m not at the gym until noon, if I go at all. Driving a boy to school, cleaning the kitchen and making The Beard coffee in the morning doesn't generate much of a sweat. My laundry is frequently done. I've tackled some remodeling jobs. I’m starting a 365-day cull to remove excess melange. Writing, not so much.

The full time author’s dilemma is to build scheduled time to write without distractions. I still get “Mom, will you make breakfast, lunch, dinner?”  I balance my net present value against feelings I’m not contributing financially...yet. I post my daily accomplishments for validation. I’m working to lock down a weekly word count, after all that was one of the primary reasons to quit.

In the meantime, I did shower this morning.

JC Lynne's first novel, The Esau Emergence, was published July, 2013 by Ngano Press. The sequel, The Esau Convergence is coming soon. Her blog is at


Sarah Sullivan said...

Isn't it funny how often the busier you are the more productive you are? I'm thinking if I want to write more I need to get a job! Good luck! I'm sure you will find your rhythm soon! : )

Sarah Reichert said...

Its a big adjustment, but I'm excited for your new commitment to writing. I know, as a stay at home mom, that any day you can get a shower should be lauded as a success. I used to consider an added bonus if I could wrestle both kids down for systematic finger/toenail clipping. I wish you the best of luck and look forward to reading more from you!

Julia said...

Love the perspective change! Writing will be my new goal....shower will be a bonus!

Anonymous said...

I had the same conversation with my husband when we got married, but like you, I quit my day job at a nursing home and reveled in the possibility of doing nothing but writing all day. Then, there were wedding invitation lists to compile and thank yous for gifts to send. Bill bought me a new computer so I spent a lot of time transferring data from the old to the new machine. Then Bill suffered his first stroke and was confined to a wheelchair. He suffered a second stroke a year later, and I cared for him at home for six years. I found time to publish a nove and a collection of poems, even though I worked 24/7 as a family caregiver. Now that Bill is gone, although I grieve for him, I have plenty of time to write and have set goals I want to accomplish. Good luck to you in your endeavors.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I didn't write "full-time" until I retired from a time-eating job out there in the real world...and now I have to define "full-time" writing as something I fit into my schedule of a million other activities, some of which are writing related.

I can't complain. I choose how I spend my time, and if I blog hop instead of writing, so be it.

Now I'm off to buy a copy of The Esau Emergence. Looks like a good sci fi tale.

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