Okay. I admit that I am in fits of laughter at my title page. I have not had a job… ever. That will change by next summer though because for some reason which I cannot fathom (maybe torture), my Law School requires us to complete a ten week internship during out first summer at law school. I feel it necessary to point out to you that that is almost my entire summer, but I digress. In three years I would have completed Law School and my Masters and will be thrust out into the working world. It scares me because I have no idea how this will affect my writing. Before this I have only had to balance school and writing. It hadn’t been a problem before since I’ve only started to treat writing like my second career path for a year now.
This is a post from my deceased blog which detailed my frustration with trying to write and trying to manage my Degree at the same time. It would appear that despite everything, a multi-tasker I am not.
Writers’ block is not my only enemy, I’ve got to contend with my degree. Bloody LL.B. It is hard enough to write when you do not have to do acrobatic magic(k) tricks to find the time. I am finally at a good place in my writing. I am writing that book I have always wanted to write, the way I have wanted to write it because well now I realize that I can. But I still have ‘life’ to work out and my degree takes up such a huge part of it. In the next three weeks end of semester exams will start… the last batch of exams I take before I am awarded my LL.B. And yes, I want to ensure that I am leaving this place with First Class Honours. The problem is that I am in such a precarious position because of a C I managed to get in Real Property II two semesters ago (sighs and makes sad face). I’m either going to get this First Class or a really high Upper Seconds. I intend to get it or die trying (pauses for dramatic effect) With this said, I am now putting in at least eleven hours of studying per day for the next month and a half or thereabout. It doesn’t leave much time for anything else I enjoy. No writing, definitely no gym (and I have a slowly extending tummy to prove) and I barely squeeze in half an hour with Rosetta Stone every day to improve on my German (something has got to give right?). So what do you do when you’ve got so many things competing for you time? How do you prioritize? Despite what people think, I do not believe that this LL.B is any more important than working on Arabesque or any of the other novels in my mind. It is just that (and this how I ended up getting a Law Degree to begin with) the LL.B is practical. Let’s face it… I won’t make money from writing. I do not intend to make money from writing. And I am completely fine with that. Writers do not write to become rich and or famous. We write because the passion that burns within us is impossible to extinguish. Everything else, well that’s gravy.
So considering my passion in life isn’t likely to support me, I needed a career – I needed something to pay the bills. I guess the major question I still struggle with is: why Law? It is not exactly the laid back career which will leave a lot of extra time for writing. But what can I say, I was making this choice when I was seventeen: the thought of being a Lawyer seemed uber cool and I got in, so I ran with it. The fact remains is that, although it is not my love but a spawn of my practicality, I am here and I am not the type to do a half assed job at anything. So how do I manage ‘going hard or die trying’ for my First Class Honours and actually working on my First Draft of that Novel I have finally garnered the courage to write. The answer is apparently a lot more simple than I thought – it involves a Redbull, fierce willpower, determination and a couple less hours of sleep.
That was a couple months back. It turns out that I did not die trying but I did get the First Class. The problem is that I have been on summer break for a month with blissfully nothing to do but write, and I am having an even harder time now that I don’t have to struggle for stolen minutes to work.
So what gives then?
For persons who have complete full time jobs and families to take care of, I am pretty sure that your schedules are way more complex than a twenty-one year old about to start Law School. How is it you make it work? And perhaps, is it actually possible that too much time equates as little writing as not enough time? The first author I’ve read posing that question was Chris Baty in his book – No Plot? No Problem! A High-velocity, Low Stress Way to Write a Novel in 30 Days (Get it Here). He said that he had a great idea to take time off from work, I think it was to the tune of a month to focus solely on his writing. Apparently he ended up doing anything but.
I still haven’t figured out the perfect key to managing life and writing yet. It is like figuring out a recipe without the measurements. I am pretty sure I will figure it out some day but if anyone has the recipe book… please feel free to send it my way.