Work interferes with my concentration. I suspect I’m not alone among writers in this regard. Just last week I had two fiction pieces accepted for publication (one of which won honorable mention), but the little time I can allot to writing is divided between fiction and non. Up until now the non has been more successful at finding publishers, but last week might’ve tipped the balance a bit. As someone who works well more than eight hours daily, culling that time for creative enterprises can be difficult. I’m told that Isaac Asimov, in the days before personal computers, kept three typewriters, each with one of his projects ready to go. He would work on the one he felt like at any given time without having to reload a single typewriter with a half-finished piece. My laptop has the dubious advantage of keeping multiple windows open in which several projects are simultaneously active.
At the moment I have three book projects going; two nonfiction and one that will become novel number seven, if it ever gets finished. Not only that, but my short stories file has many contenders for my rationed time. Long ago I lost track of just how many tales there are—some are on disc and others are on paper. Some are finished, awaiting revision, and others have just begun clawing their way into written form. The problem is finding the time to work on them. The oft-heard lament of the working writer is that life is more working than writing. And having had some minor affirmation of my fictional functionality recently, I’d love to explore that a bit more, but who has time right now? Even as I finish typing up my blog post for the day the hour to begin work is looming.
Stephen King’s advice to wannabe writers is to read. A lot. Although I do my best to keep this dictate among my personal commandments, I run into the immobile object of nine-to-five-plus repeatedly. If I take a vacation (which is seldom) it is often “to get away,” but writing is more a matter of aging in place. Finding your comfortable spot where your thoughts flow freely and where the coffee pot’s just in the kitchen and if an idea catches you before sunrise you can spend time wrestling it even after light filters in through the curtains. Those are rare days since weekends are for doing the chores neglected in your forty-five-plus hour work week. And settling between fiction and non is never an easy decision, especially when one has just received a vote of confidence before login time on a Monday morning. For now, however, I have to concentrate on work.