After finishing my master’s degree and taking a year off to write, I have only just recently entered The Workforce - Amren's First Full-Time Job! And you know what? I have NO IDEA how people manage to fit in writing. If you're someone who somehow squeezes in a quick revision during lunch, or you write a new paragraph on the bus, kudos to you because I do not know how you do it. I have no idea how you compartmentalize well enough to shove aside the fact that Anna left this unsolvable problem by deleting her source code and just get into zen writer-mind. It seems nigh impossible.
I thought that starting a full-time job would be easier than grad school, since I wouldn’t have homework or group projects or research to do on my own time. I thought I'd be able to clock out at 5:00, leave my worries at the door, and saunter home to write a dozen pages. Instead, I get home and stare at my laptop, all of my creativity drained as if I'd poured it through a sieve. What I didn’t factor into this consideration was that, during grad school, I could go home during the day and make pizza dough or smash out a couple chapters. (Sometimes I could even cram a few paragraphs into the margins of my notes during class, if I was sneaky.) Working full-time is a whole other animal.
I've considered making time to write in the little moments here and there at work, but my job is too demanding to even allow me to think about what I'm going to work on after lunch. My brain is constantly "on," working out how long it'll take me to scan a dozen slides and whether I can figure out what's wrong with the lab computer while the scanner is running. At the end of the day, I constantly feel like my brain has turned to jello. And it is so frustrating. I've had my NaNoWriMo manuscript nagging at the back of my mind since the new year started, but I've barely had the energy to work on it. I have so many ideas in the tiny moments when I'm walking to lunch or running to the lab next door, but even just writing them down, they come off so boring, so clinical. It's as if work saps all the creativity from my body. It seems as though all I can do is hope that I'll eventually settle in, and all of this will be a distant memory.
How do you deal with work-writing balance? When do you find time to write? When you're feeling as if your creativity has drained away, how do you "reset?"