Real and Imaginary Friends

This past week was crazy-busy, what with fitting in getting ready for Thanksgiving between writing (both fiction and non-fiction), and proofing.  I planned to give myself a full four-day weekend, but then a funny thing happened.

Constructing a Wizard’s Museum

Thursday I woke up in the night.  As I was drifting off again, I heard Blind Seer (a character from the “Firekeeper Saga”) talking in my head.  The only way I could keep him from repeating the same phrases over and over again was to promise him (or myself) that I would make time to write on Friday.

So I did.  This meant giving up doing yard work (which I like) on an absolutely lovely day, but… Well, as those of you who know the series are aware, Blind Seer is a very large wolf and can be very persistent if he chooses.

One of the tougher things I find about being a full-time, self-employed writer is balancing work time and play time.  Achieving this balance is more important than it may seem because, if I don’t take play time, my subconscious tends to fizzle up on me.  Making finding a balance a bit harder, at least some of this play time needs to be creative.  Watching television or even reading doesn’t always provide the necessary oomph.

The answer would seem obvious, right?  Schedule in play time.  Well, as with most obvious solutions, it’s not that easy.

As I explained to the prosecuting counsel when I was called for jury duty a few months back, if I don’t work, nothing gets done: business or writing.  I don’t have an assistant.  (Although my friend Julie Bartel, forever blessings on her head, helps me with my Facebook page.)  You’d be amazed at how many full-time, high profile writers have one or more assistants who handle not only routine business, but also more writerly jobs like proofing or reviewing copy edits.

Others have a non-employed spouse who handles the routine house running chores.  I don’t have that either.  Jim is an excellent partner who does his share, but he’s not at my disposal.

By the end of a typical day, even when I’ve anticipated having some time to listen to an audiobook and do some sort of craft project, I’m often too beat.  And when this happens too often, burnout starts wavering on the horizon.

Making matters worse, if I don’t make time to write as well as doing proofing and such, I become a person that I don’t like living with…  So clearing my desk of routine matters first to give myself “time to write” is also a strategy that doesn’t work.

So this weekend, I made sure to replenish my creative batteries by not writing (except on Friday).  I did manage a little craft time.  In addition to having folks over for Thanksgiving, we made time to see friends other days.

On Friday, our friend Michael Wester came over.  In addition to introducing him to the joy of throwing atlatl darts, we viewed some of Jim’s slides from a long-ago archeological project. Then we played a round of a very amusing tabletop game called The Wizard’s Museum.  I lost, but I had fun.

On Saturday, we went to Page One Books to help with their Indies First promotion.  In addition to doing my gig as a Guest Bookseller, I had a chance to visit with several of the local SF/F fans: Dawn, Mike, Erika, and Daisy.  I also enjoyed chatting with some of the other writers who shared my shift.

Sunday we hosted our usual role-playing game.  I’ve had people ask me if running a really complicated RPG drains my creative juices.  Actually, I’ve discovered that it does the opposite.  I find it invigorating to adapt my story around the dual random factors of what the dice indicate and my gamers’ whims.

But the work remains.  I have a list on my desk that I use to remind myself what needs to be done.  At least right now, a little bit here, a little bit there, seems to be the way to go.

Now, off to pull out a notebook and get back to scribbling.  Blind Seer is delightful in many ways, but I really don’t want him keeping me from getting my sleep!

3 Responses to “Real and Imaginary Friends”

  1. John C Says:

    I’m delighted to hear you enjoyed Wizard’s Museum Construction Kit! Thanks for sharing that.

  2. King Ben's Grandma Says:

    Yeah, stay on Blind Seer’s good side😉

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