Writing, Giant Pandas, and Staying Ahead

Between my shitty day job and my writing schedule, I’m an early riser, most of the time. It’s a little past three in the morning, right now, and my white noise machine hasn’t gone off, yet. Today, I’m writing the blog post I forgot about yesterday. Oops.

Even so, I don’t usually think of mornings as my most productive time. A little writing, here and there, but mostly, I’m up so I don’t have to rush getting dressed, and there’s time to eat a real, grown-up people breakfast and read some news.  I’m in a better mood all day for knowing the Giant Panda has been breeding like mad and is no longer on the endangered species list.

Or maybe, I’m in a better mood for that second cup of tea.

Right now, I’m thinking solid, lucid thoughts about quitting my day job. They’re not well-funded thoughts, but at least they’re a little more structured than just a series of gripes about what’s going on there. (Incompetent higher ups, who create the problems they’d like me to solve, and then complain about how I do it.) And let’s be honest–it’s not a career worthy job by any stretch.

I was never one of those kids who knew exactly what mainstream, 9-5 job I wanted from day one. Nope. I knew I wanted to be a writer (which is not exactly what the public schools have in mind) and I always cringed at the idea of… well, anything else. But I could still use a better class of day job. So, I’m trying to track down a few marketable skills. Thinking about where to volunteer to boost that resume.

Thinking about writing short stories, and actually marketing them.

Thinking of creating my own line of un-baby shower party games and supplies. Reveal cake? Pink for a girl, Blue for a boy… Green for dual incomes, no kids, and I just wanted to have a party. After that I could expand into “Didn’t marry the wrong man” showers and “Stopped having birthdays, so Happy Tuesday” Parties.

In the world of etsy, that might actually take off.

Making Use of My Noon Hour

If you’re like me, you have a life. Things outside of work and writing (which sometimes seem to merge into one all-consuming work) that need to be done, and things you want to do.

And then, there’s the goal–the write, revise, publish, publicise–that’s a part of getting from where you are to where you want to be. If you’re looking to publish traditionally, there are queries, proposals, requests. If you’re self-publishing, there’s business, hiring editors, buying covers. And if you’re doing the hybrid thing… all of the above.

Every spare minute counts.

I have an hour for lunch. And sometimes, the worst thing in the world seems to be having my co-workers lay claim to that hour. To MY hour. After all, haven’t we already chatted through most of the morning? Isn’t that enough?

I’ve taken to a regimen of lunch-time oatmeal and break room coffee. It’s not a diet. I’m trying to save minutes, not calories, but I’ve lost weight, anyway.

The real problem seems to be focus. Lunchtime isn’t the most optimal writing space. There are people, of course, and the ones who talk to me never seem to be the ones who want to talk writing. And, of course, they’re never the ones who want to sit quietly and read.

Then, there’s the organization issue. I’m writing on my phone, and a folding keyboard, and I’m not talking about a 500 dollar, practically a computer phone. It’s enough for music and blog posts, but my writing software doesn’t work here.

I try different things. Working on revision. Working on writing. And now, working on a blog post. That last one seems to be the best. Half an hour in, and I’m a blog post up. That’s worth something.

Blog posts don’t require me to track down bits and pieces that are scattered all over the phone, the internet, and my email. They’re self-contained, and lunch gives them a time limit.

Plus, doing this now saves an hour in the evening, when my computer and my software are up and running, ready to keep track of the things that would wind up in disorganized pieces, if I did them here.

How do you use your lunch hour? Any tips or advice for those odd, awkward writing moments?