The other day I met a woman at a party and she asked me what I do for a living, and I told her I don't have a "real" job -- I'm writing a book.
(Tangent: Everyone pretty much thinks you're full of shit when you say something like this. They are pretty sure you are sleeping in 'til noon and watching Oprah.)
And she asked me how I am able to work from home, and I told her it was a cinch. I said I get up in the morning and I have a routine I follow pretty well and I don't really have a problem with sticking to the program.
Which I think I believed when the words were coming out of my mouth, but what I have come to realize is it was a humongous lie.
I can't begin to tell you how difficult it is to write from home. There are always -- always -- things that need to get done around the house, and in the back of my mind I'm plotting dinner recipes and trips to the grocery store and the post office and the phone is ringing and someone is knocking on the door in the middle of a brilliant thought -- probably the only brilliant thought I will have all month -- and then it's gone because someone wanted to convert me to the Church of Latter Day Saints.
If I were organized, there would be better established routines, days and hours when I would do certain things so my mind wouldn't be worrying over the pile of laundry in the dryer or the empty fridge. But I am not organized and my home is not organized and lately I've been daydreaming about sitting in an empty room on a hill, with only a computer and a view of the ocean, stretching as far as I can see.
This is almost certainly why employers do not want to allow their employees to work from home.
I tell myself that as soon as I finish selling things on eBay (more time consuming than you'd imagine) or organizing stuff for a garage sale or cleaning the bathrooms, I won't feel so distracted and I can write. But this is another lie.
I believe that because I don't have a "real" job, there are so many other things I should be getting done every day, and people have said this to me, too -- that I should be doing so much more with my time -- but this is somewhat wrongheaded thinking. If anything, I should be hunkering down and working harder than ever on the book, never mind the mold in the shower and unmade bed and the 50 unread e-mails and the blog -- good grief, the blog.
You must pardon this entry, because it's really just me psyching myself up for what's to come. I have only this one life, and only this one section of time in my life to do this, and what I know is that if I spend it worrying about the dishes or what's for dinner instead of what I set out to do -- write a book, goddammit -- I will regret that more than if I'd never quit my job to try writing.
This book, unfinished, would be more heartbreaking than if it had never been started.