From June onwards, I'll be on my own timetable for weekdays. This will last for the foreseeable future, and for the first time ever. I won't have college in September (I hope), and I don't currently have a full-time job in place. Those sort of things just aren't that common.
The implications of this are both positive and negative.
For a start, my travel expenses per week are driven down significantly. Rather than spend about €25 on travel to and from college per week (a massive chunk of my wages), I can work from the comfort of my own home. I also won't have to worry about paying for lunch when I run out of time to make one in the morning...because I'll be eating in all the time. That's up to €20 saved per week.
However, despite saving money, I'm not exactly in a position to do much else with my life; I'm still only working weekends, so I can't afford to travel, or to move out. I also don't get to see people as often as I'd like (and I like people, especially my friends). And I have to set my own work.
This is where my timetable comes in. Knowing there are only so many days I can work on one project before it becomes tiresome, I've devised a way to write about several different things throughout the week. A mix of poetry, script writing, novelling, flash fiction, articles, blog writing, video making and general adminstration work sees me working full-time on writing.
It also sees me putting off the insanity of being without a structure in my life.
However, it does also call for me to have to use my time as if I were working a regular job. Specifically:
- I need to earn money from writing
- I need to have holidays from writing
- I need to work with people in some way
I'm already working on the last one, and I'm technically earning something from writing (though not enough to be currently in a position of paying myself an hourly wage for the amount of work that actually went into the books I have published, thus far), but actually having holidays is difficult. I'd need to plan projects towards similar deadlines. I'd need some sort of money to actually go somewhere (and somewhere affordable... the student lifestyle continues even after the degree has been earned!).
It's not impossible, I know, but it will take some work.
I've set myself deadlines and tasks per month (books to have completed, projects to launch that currently only exist anonymously, submissions) so I'm not going completely without direction. I have a whole folder full of tasks that need to be done, books to be written, and a step-by-step guide to getting them done.
I don't want my time to go to waste. I know how easy it is to sit by and do nothing. But I also know how possible it is to accomplish a lot in a short period of time. Two years ago, I found myself in the position of needing to write about 25,000 words in five days in July (Camp NaNoWriMo anybody); finishing that early, I applied for, and was hired, for a writing position on The Phantom Zone (a site that unfortunately not been written on in over a year, when I stopped writing when it appeared no one else was regularly posting); at the same time, I began putting my website together.
It had been a busy five days, but it made the time feel worthwhile. That's what I want to get out of life. Sure, I could sit around all day and watch RoosterTeeth videos or tweet about the varying quantities of tea in my cup, but I wouldn't feel like I was actually accomplishing anything. (Don't get me wrong: when summer hits, I imagine I'll be spending a fair amount of time listening to the RoosterTeeth podcasts while doing things like cover design, or taking a break from work, but I don't want that to be the only thing I accomplish in a day.) Similarly, I won't be repeating what I did last summer: watching videos with the aim of achieving something from what they taught, only to never put it into practice.
I need to fill my day with activities, and I need to be flexible (but professional) about how I do it. Essentially, I'll be working a seven-day week, though I'll be setting my own hours for five of those. And I need to. Not just to actually get the books written that I've been wanting to write for years and months, now, but to actually feel like I'm doing something with my time.
If history has taught me anything, I grow restless during time off when I feel like I should be doing something. Here's the reality of the situation: I won't have a research paper to write, or teaching practice to prepare for, or a deadline to finish the really serious, time-consuming work of longer books and projects, all of which are usually dictated by the coming of September. September will just be the month after August, not the month I'm working to another timetable again.
Until such time that I find full-time work, I have to make it for myself.
Incidentally, while I have many, many projects to do for the next few months, I'd like to blog every day in June (and possibly July...and August...and September... getting the picture? Every day. Forever.), but I'm wondering: what would you like to read? I'm open to suggestions (though I'm hoping not to repeat the Sexy Sea Anemones post that resulted from an extremely open call for blog post ideas a few years ago!). Leave a comment below (or on whatever social media site you found this post through - if I posted the link).