Monday, November 30, 2009

When a Hobby Isn't a Hobby

To use Authoress’s words, I’m not one of “those” writers. I’m not the sort of writer who spends seventeen and a half hours in front of the computer screen every day and manages to cram the rest of life into the other six and a half. I can’t be. I have a husband and two kids and a house and church assignments and more laundry than I’d care to disclose, and all of them require my undivided care and attention every now and then. Writing is not the most important thing in my life; in fact, judging by this list, it’s not even the second or third. But sometimes I let it become so.

I went home for Thanksgiving last week, and except for the fact that my five-month-old decided nighttime was for crying instead of sleeping, it was a wonderful trip. We ate loads of turkey and my mom’s homemade stuffing, went on a Black Friday outing that didn’t involve busting doors (we cruised clearance racks instead)--and my favorite college football team even pulled off a win against their longtime rivals. But because Grandma was around to keep an eye on my kids, I started hopping online two or three times every morning. And then two or three times every night. And everything snowballed from there.

There’s so much to do online, after all. I had blogs to read, forums to post on, e-mail to check. Before long, I was stopping by QueryTracker every three or four hours and invading my inbox at least three times a day. And I never check my e-mail that often--the longer I ignore it, the greater chance I’ll have of actually finding something new, or so I usually think. By the time Saturday rolled around, I was feeling as jittery as a caffeine addict during a coffee strike. Every second I wasn’t writing or hanging out on Absolute Write was a second I wished I were. And every second I was didn’t satisfy me.

And then, like a ray of sunshine--or maybe a lightning bolt--it hit me: I don’t have to be this way. I don’t have to let my writing consume me. As my husband once so eloquently put it, my hobby is for me, I am not for my hobby. Writing is NOT the most important thing in my life; I have my priorities, and I’m sticking to them. I’m happier, genuinely happier, that way.

This isn’t the first time I’ve lived through this cycle of obsess and refocus, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Every car rattles itself out of alignment after a while; the trick is to get it to the mechanic before you wear your tires bald. Well, my proverbial tires are no longer balding. I’m happy to report I am comfortably, completely back on the hobby-writer bandwagon. I’m sure my mouse finger will appreciate the break.


Myrna Foster said...

Yes, trying to do NaNoWriMo this month was a little crazy. My word count is only half of what it should be, and I can't even do that every month. I'm looking forward to being less focused next month ;)

Joanne said...

I generally feel that as long as the writing is some part of my life, everything's good. It kind of goes in cycles, sometimes the rest of life demands more attention, and vice versa. Enjoyed browsing here!