My family and friends have no idea what I do. Those that might sort of intellectualize it, still don’t really consider it work. To their untrained eyes, I’m sitting at the computer most of the day doing something nebulous that they can’t understand.
They don’t get the fact that my being on Facebook, Twitter, Good Reads, etc. isn’t just for fun. I am networking and marketing. Yes, it looks like entertainment, but looks are often deceiving. I do take time off to play games from time to time, but I put in work time first.
Also, to the uninitiated, writing looks like fun. We, as authors, sit in our location of choice with our computers or a pen and paper. We type and scribble, doing our best to get our words down in a coherent fashion. Finding the best word possible isn’t an easy task.
Once we’ve written the first draft, the edits and revisions begin. This is a time consuming, tedious, ceaseless process that only comes to an end because we have a deadline. We suffer separation anxiety, struggling to release our fledgling to the harsh, cold world. We probably aren’t going to appreciate being interrupted.
I don’t know about any other authors, but I can’t put into words what it is I do. Everything sounds inadequate for the amount of time and energy that goes into it. If I had to summarize my work, I would say that I write stories, market my books and post articles about writing. How can something so seemingly simplistic take all day?
All this being said, why do they think they can interrupt my stream of thought with phone calls and random requests? I don’t do it to them. I don’t call indiscriminately and make demands of their time. Why do they feel they can do it to me with impunity? Do the words, “I’m busy” not mean anything anymore?
I guess instead I should say, “I’m busy, but by all means call and interrupt and bother me because it’s convenient for you.”
In case it isn’t obvious, I’m a bit irritated as I write this. I suppose I shouldn’t harbor resentment, they are my friends and family. But they should understand that what I do is as important as what they do. I don’t have a huge paycheck attached to my work hours. In fact, my payback is barely adequate to put gas in the car or pay for lotto tickets. I am pursuing what drives me, trying to fulfill a dream that keeps eluding me.
Like most authors, I keep weird hours. I might be up until the wee hours of the morning and not get up until later in the day. That, for some of us, is normal. There are those oddities who like to get up early and watch the sunrise, but we forgive them their proclivity for sunlight because they are writers. I don’t work 9 – 5. I often am working well into the evening, and I really don’t want to be bothered then either. However, if it’s been a productive day, an evening chat isn’t such a bad thing. Please note that chat means about 30 minutes. It does not mean talking for an hour or two. I can’t speak for anyone else here, but I hate being on the phone for hours on end. I can’t seem to express this to my loved ones without risking getting really nasty, so I’m saying it here. I DO NOT LIKE TALKING ON THE PHONE!
It’s not only a waste of my time, but it is PAINFUL. After a couple of surgeries on my neck, listening on the phone makes part of my face and neck numb, but the other parts hurt more and make up for it. I may love you, but that doesn’t mean I want to natter endlessly.
So, before picking up the phone and calling your favorite author friend or relative, think about what they do and wonder if what you’re about to call for is really that important. If they say, “I’m working” or “I’m busy” could they really be saying, “I love you, but your call has interrupted my writing sprint and I really need to get back to this before the ever elusive scene is lost”? Could whatever it is you have to say wait?
© Dellani Oakes