As I said, I wrote about something like this once before--I'm going to talk about how to juggle a demanding job and your art--when I took a three-month contract right after graduating. After a year of grad school where I could totally dedicate myself and my time to my art, going back to work was a shock.
With this job, I barely have time to work on my art, and when I do have time--after work after I've spent an hour and a half in a traffic jam populated by tens of thousands of Massholes, the pet name we give for all the polite, considerate people that populate this city--I'm good for maybe an hour.
This time, it was a job I couldn't pass up for many reasons. First, I need to pay rent. Hello. I've been stringing little gigs together since January, and while it's great that I had the freedom, living in one of the most expensive cities in the States made life sort of exciting at times, if you know what I mean.
Second, it's a sweet job for a writer, working with what appears to be some cool, intelligent people. I'm working for a the News and Communications Department at Bentley University, a business school in Waltham. The job not only pays well, always a plus for us writer types, but I'll also be writing about the goings on at the univeristy--real topics that matter. One of my criteria for a job is that I have to feel the organization is making the world a better place. That kind of keeps me out of ad agencies now, but universities are packed with people who still haven't lost their idealism.
I think artists know best the saying, the things we do for money. It's the things we give up so we have money that artists understand the best, I think, because we are giving up things that are so deeply personal. I'm giving up a lot of my life right now for money, but unless the NEA or somebody decides I'm the next Tennessee Williams, I'm pretty much on my own right now.
I've been trying to figure out when I have time to write, and how I can do it most productively, and I've come up with a few ideas.
First, when I was in grad school, of course I did have other classes so I would fit in writing whenever I could. If I had fifteen mintues before a class, out came the laptop. I can be that driven. So, if I have an hour at night, I'll use it. Fifteen minutes in the morning, I'll use it to write one or two lines of dialogue. Is this a perfect answer? Hell no, far from it, but it's all I'm given now so I have to do the best I can with what I've got.
I write at work when I'm eating lunch. I bring my lunch, and if I have a half hour, or a blessed whole hour, I write then.
I'm planning on trying a little experiment with myself that I'm taking from one of my favorite playwrights, Suzan-Lori Parks. She wrote 365 Days - 365 Plays. A play a day. I'm no SLP, so I'm going to start with 7 Days - 7 Plays, and see if I can make that mark. If I can do that, I'll stretch it to two weeks.
Maybe later I'll write about fititng in the rest of life, cooking, grocery shopping, living life with Sue and enjoying one another, because that's a big part of writing too. Writing, for me at least, is simply living my life. I live my life, and then write down what I learn about it.