AC: Mom! Mom! My gerbils got out of their cage!
You’ll often hear writers lament that no one respects our writing time. So many people think that since we’re home all day in our sweats, we have loads of time on our hands to do all kinds of things – organize PTA bake sales, run errands, make costumes for the school play, etc. I’ve worked very hard over the last year to try to make people understand that I’m working. I may not be in the office, and I may not have bathed, but this is my job and it’s just as demanding and time-consuming as theirs. “At home” does not equal “available.”
But, no matter how I try, there’s one thing I can’t make respect my writing time: Life.
Take the gerbils, for example. I don’t even like the ugly rodents. But I get out of my chair – leaving my hero and heroine panting and frustrated – and go help AC catch the things and return them to their cage. This action is not entirely motivated by parental love; yes, AC would be heartbroken if her gerbils disappeared into a vent to never be seen again and that would hurt me, but the reality of the situation is that my office is right next door to AC’s room. If the gerbils are loose, there’s a very good chance they’ll make it into my office and run over my feet (thereby guaranteeing squished gerbils and upset child. Not to mention the ICK factor.).
Life just gets in the way sometimes. John Lennon said “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” And what’s that saying? “Man plans; God laughs.”
Oh, yeah. Life loves to screw up your schedule.
I’m not saying my situation is any different than any other working parent’s. If the child gets sick, someone has to take off from work to do doctor runs and push the orange juice. It doesn’t matter where you work; “child with fever and vomiting” is blind to career choice, deadline, day of the week, time of the night, or vacation plans. Gerbils escape. Roofs spring leaks. Tires go flat. Goldfish die. People die. Someone falls and needs nine stitches on their forehead the day before school pictures. Ants invade the pantry.
And my hero and heroine are left breathless and on the edge while I go take care of it. What else can you do?
AC started back to school yesterday, which means that I can get back on my schedule and, hopefully, get this book back on a timeline that includes making my deadline. (Note to self: remember the craziness of summer when we go back to contract and plan accordingly.) I'd appreciate it if Life laid off me for a little while and let me get caught up.
Any blog readers good at keeping Life under control? Care to share how you manage that? Heck, I’d settle for a link to an escape-proof gerbil cage…