9 to 5

A hurdle stands in front of me, a hurdle I need to jump over.

I’ve heard it from relatively new, inexperienced writers, and I’ve read it from the likes of Stephen King and Neil Gaiman:

If I seriously want to be a writer, then I am going to have to think of writing as a job. Not a hobby. Not a diversion. Not a fun way to de-stress, connect or process. A JOB.

This spring, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are my scheduled writing days. Tuesdays and Thursdays, I take care of chores around the house, run errands, shop for groceries, babysit grandkids, (hopefully) update the blog and website, and shuttle my high schooler to classes and piano lessons.

This week, I took Monday and Tuesday off to visit family – lots of grandbaby snuggles! Do I regret not writing on Monday? Do I regret not doing chores and grocery shopping on Tuesday? Nope. Not one bit. But here is my dilemma…

Yesterday, Wednesday, I thought to myself, “Okay, I have two days worth of work to catch up on before I can sit down at the computer and write.” The problem with that kind of thinking is: I will NEVER catch up on everything that needs to be done around the house and everything that needs to be done for my family.

If I wait until I “catch up” on cleaning bathrooms, mopping floors, and folding laundry, I will NEVER write.

I was talking to a writer friend about this frustration yesterday. Her advice was spot on:

“If you worked at Farm Bureau, Camille, you wouldn’t call in Wednesday morning and say, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry, I can’t come in to work today. I had company last week, and I need to stay home today and mop my floors.’ No, of course not! You’d haul your butt out of bed and get to work! Those neglected household chores…well, they’d just have to wait til next week. If you seriously want to write, you are going to have to develop the same attitude toward your writing. This is your job. You don’t miss work because you had a busy weekend and you need a couple of days to catch up on chores around the house!”

I know this. I do. But I have been a full-time mom and homemaker for so long that I find it difficult – almost impossible – to adopt an attitude of such commitment to my writing.

If you ask me, “What is your job, Camille? What do you do?” – without hesitation, I will answer, “I am a mom.”

I need to learn to say with equal dedication and conviction, “I am a writer.”

I AM a writer. Now, time for me to get to work!

(Can you relate to my struggle? Check out this article by Amy Clipston: The Juggling Act: Working Full-time and Writing.)

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