Monday, February 28, 2005

The right way to stop caring

Over the last week or so I've been mulling new posts, all of which were variations on a theme of "Leave me alone." (By the way, to those who asked whether I had ever asked for alone time, the answer is yes. Multiple times. Including this past week, school vacation. However, once again, Being a Family won out. I guess I have no one but myself to blame, despite knowing that other writer-wives/mothers don't have to ask for time.)

Anyway, I always feel the lack of time more acutely when paid work interferes with my ability to work on my novel (early morning) and exercise (late evening). This has been too frequent over the last month. I figured it was a worthy tradeoff: work a lot, get paid a lot.

All that changed this weekend. I've been expecting paychecks for weeks. One for an article that got published in January. The other for PR work. I reasoned that they'd have to get here soon, because otherwise we'd be late on bills. But on Saturday, when they still hadn't arrived, I had enough.

No longer am I going to break my back for other people. I will bend it, sure, like I always do, because if I put myself first in all senses of the term, no one will want to work with me anymore. But there will be no more giving up of fiction time to edit a few paragraphs of an article I won't get done on time anyway. No more giving up an afternoon swim or workout, either. I can't put stock in the idea that my novel will sell, but it is the one thing I am doing for myself, and dammit, it deserves equal playing time.

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