Last fall, I changed my schedule at Day Job and now work four ten hour days instead of five eight hour days. This is exciting because, frankly, who doesn’t like a three day weekend. I also feel as if I physically need ten hours a day to do my Day Job job duties, but that’s neither here nor there. There’s no crying at Day Job. It’s like Fight Club, but with less fighting and more singing and movie trivia. Anyway.
Today is my flex day. I’m still in this weird Limbo place between novels, trying to decide which plot idea strikes the most fancy with me, deciding, and then having a bizarre cheese induced nightmare that translates into a new, awesome story idea and just….look, long story short, I’ve got two word documents open and I’m bouncing between novel beginnings, just going with whatever comes to mind. Two new characters, two new contemporaries (sorry historical fans), and waaaay too many ideas. Simmer down now (Side note: why am I never wearing pants in my dreams? Last night’s dream had me wearing a Pittsburgh Penguins t-shirt, striped socks and striped underwear. Dream Heather realized this was a problem and went to Dream Macy’s clearance rack. I just…I’m so weird).
Anyway, so, here I am: chilling on the couch. Typing hilarious bits of sarcasm and a main character named Abby who talks to her cat (“Got no friends: hi five myself!”) and, trust me, it’s not as weird as it sounds. The Hubs sneaks over to my writer’s nest and hands me a piece of fudge. Glorious! Is this what JK Rowling feels like? iPhone blasting One Direction, wrapped in a down comforter, and wearing yoga pants and an old Army PT shirt, eating chocolate fudge and basking in the glow of a new novel and new characters and new ideas? (Answer: Noooooo, that’s probably not at all how JK Rowling looks when she writes). This is the life. This is living the dream: eating fudge and writing and listing to music. I am an author. I am the creator of worlds.
At that point, one of my children walked up to me and shot me in the face with a Nerf dart gun.
And, welcome back to reality, Heather.
I remember the days of my youth when I laid around the house like a slug, just piles and piles of spare time and wallowing in the eternal decision of “should I watch TV? Or write? Or watch TV while I write?” Endless hours of laziness and laying here verses there and playing Sim City on the computer and singing at the top of my lungs to the Lion King soundtrack and, eventually, sitting in my bedroom–lit only by the glow of a lava lamp–listening to NSync as loud as my little boom box could blast, and writing horror short stories about haunted houses because THAT’S what I do and I like it.
I’m not really all that different now. I’ve exchanged the boom box for an iPhone. NSync for One Direction (out of my way, teenage girls, I’ve been fan girling since before you were born). I’m still writing. And singing. And generally being weird. But, before all that happens, I first have to:
- Wake up early(beat ya again, sunrise!)
- Eat breakfast and drink coffee because look, people want to live
- Commute to work (music!)
- Commence in working
- Eat lunch
- Finish working
- Commute to home (angry music!)
- Make food for Rowdy Boys
- Pick up food off floor because Rowdy Boys are uncoordinated and rowdy and boys
- Bargain with Rowdy Boys to eat dinner and threaten to eat ice cream in front of them if they don’t
- Watch Rowdy Boys eat vegetables and throw rest of dinner at each other. Chalk this up as a win.
- Put Rowdy Boys in bathtub and warn them not to dump water on the floor
- Mop up water they dumped on the floor
- Hide in the hallway and eat chocolate
- Get caught eating chocolate by Older Boy who has managed to sneak out of tub like a ninja
- Put Older Boy back in tub, yell at Younger Boy for peeing on Older Boy
- Take Older Boy back out of tub and send him send him to his room to get dressed
- Take Younger Boy out of tub, dry him off and get him dressed.
- Drain tub, hang up towels, clean up toys
- Find Younger Boy’s clothes and discarded diaper in hallway
- Observe two naked children running through the house
- Declare first person who pees on the floor is going to be in trouble and corral them back into pajamas
- Clean up pee off carpet because Younger Boy isn’t potty trained despite ability to pee on command
- Help Rowdy Boys clean up living room. Reward them with cheese sticks.
- Clean up living room again, as in the time it took to fetch cheese sticks, someone has dumped duplos all over the floor
- Initiate bedtime sequence
- Fall asleep on Rowdy Boys floor
- Get woken up by The Hubs. Take shower and put on pajamas.
- Sit down to write.
- Fall asleep on couch.
- Get woken up by The Hubs. Brush teeth.
- Go to bed.
So, yeah, I might not be living the writer’s dream per se. But it’s not bad. I mean, I managed to finish three novels with a schedule like this. Right now, I just need to decide which novel to work on and I’m golden. I’m set. Right? Right. But first: lunch. Because adhering to a schedule is very important.
But while lunch cooks? More One Direction and dancing. Nothing embarrasses the men in my family more than me singing and dancing to boy band music. Let the chorus of “awwww, MOM!” begin!