Writing is not a nine to five job.
There are many jobs that allow you to go in each morning, do a day’s work, and then go home in the evening without giving your job a second thought.
Writing is not one of them.
When you’re a writer, you’re always planning or composing in your mind, regardless of what else you may be doing. As an example, I conceived of this very post while driving my car. (In fact, I’ve composed many posts while driving–although I never type and drive.)
When you’re a writer, it doesn’t matter if you’ve “clocked out” for the day if your brain is still grappling with whatever it was you were working on. You can’t turn creativity off and on like that.
If you’re looking for a profession that allows you to earn money but won’t invade your private time, writing is probably not it.
There are plenty of jobs where you stand behind a register, collect money, and then go home. Or stand on assembly line…or something similar. Sure, you might think about how a customer or colleague treated you that day after you’ve left the job, but you aren’t actually doing anything that contributes to the work when you’re not clocked in.
Writing is not like one of those jobs. You can’t clock out and turn off your ideas.
If you’re a writer, you likely think about your writing a lot of the time while you do other things. I might even say, you think about writing most of the time. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re actually doing. Ideas come to you at the most inconvenient times–the middle of the night, while you’re driving, while you’re…
The nature of writing is also why it’s so hard to measure the actual effort that writing takes. Should you really count the inspiration that comes to you while you’re driving down the road or in the middle of the night as part of your work?
If you want to be truly accurate about tracking your time, you do need to count some of these inspiration times as work times. But, can you define when those times actually begin and end?
Are you able to put your writing aside at the end of each day? How do you measure your creative effort?
Share your thoughts in the comments.