Yes I would love some cheese with my whine

Thanks for asking.

I’ve been very frustrated lately with trying to find time to write. Some of you will tell me to just take the time. Well, if I do that it could mean no clean plates to eat off, or even food in the house to eat off those dirty plates, or clean clothes to wear, and no one is going to clean out the cat boxes if I don’t. And this day job stuff is getting to be entirely too time consuming.

So I’m trying to steal some time at work to get a few words down, but the cacophony around me is making it hard to concentrate. If I was in a place where I knew no one was talking to me I could tune them out entirely, like in a coffee shop. For some reason here in the office I have a harder time tuning out all the ringing phones, and loud conversations, and other people’s music. The only solution I’ve found is to resort to earbuds and loud music of my own. This morning’s choice: Godsmack — Good Times, Bad Times. Oddly it works, because I know the music well enough that it becomes atmospheric, almost background.

Anyway, this is the best solution I can come up with to carve out some writing time, short of having some sort of brain surgery that would allow me to live without sleeping.

32 thoughts on “Yes I would love some cheese with my whine

  1. D D,

    I love the title of this post. Too funny!

    Could you get up an hour earlier, when the house is quiet, to get some writing done? Or stay up an hour later?


  2. Hiya Astro Sis,

    Well, I guess I’m going to have to try something along those lines. This is unacceptable, not having time to write. One problem I have is I’m a chronic insomniac, have been for virtually all of my adult life (sounds like things should work out well, eh? but no) so I have to take sleeping pills to get some shuteye. This really puts me on a schedule as to when I have to get to bed, and when I can wake up. And unfortunately I’m not one of those people who functions well on 2 hours of sleep. Argh. Still, something’s gotta give.


  3. DD,

    I understand and sympathize with this, as both someone with many demands on time and an insomniac who doesn’t do well on minimal sleep. I did the marathon writing a few days straight last week where I was up until 3 or 4 am and had to get up at 6. After three days I was physically sick. It only lasted one morning but that morning I was completely useless so you have to be careful with burning the candle at both ends.

    Can you establish some kind of a routine – carve out a specific time when it’s all about writing and no one is allowed to disturb you? Either in the morning, or at work, or in the evening. If at work, do you have any kind of paperwork or administrative tasks that you typically have to do daily? If so, you can bundle the two and let your coworkers know so they are not calling you during that time.

    By the way, I read your last post about the weather! You have to live in the Pacific northwest to get that. It can affect your enthusiasm and level of energy. It’s a good idea to enjoy the sun – think of it as recharging your energy levels.


  4. Hi Venus,

    Ayiyiyiyi, I could never do that with the marathon writing, I would just keel over and die! Take care of yourself, that’s a huge strain on your system.

    At the risk of sounding really whiny, when I’m home there is no one making demands on my time (well, except sometimes on weekends when I’m with my granddaughter). My evenings are my own, but by the time I get home at 6:00 (days when I bike to work I get home closer to 7:00), feed the cats, get something to eat, clean up and what not there’s not much evening left. I don’t know, maybe I’m just really slow. I need to really take stock of what I’m doing in the evenings and see where I can reclaim some time. There’s just got to be something I’m wasting time on.

    Unfortunately my job is not that flexible, I’m pretty much at everyone’s beck and call. It’s ok, I try to sneak in a little writing here and there. If I really get desperate I can sit in my car at lunch for an hour and write on paper! I just need to get more creative, I guess. Thanks for all your suggestions, it helps me to reassess things.


  5. Oh, DD, I feel your pain. I have lived much of my life in this way, and still, as you know, have spaces of time where I can’t find time to write. I know what you mean when you say there simply is no time. I was a weekend writer only for awhile, and even then it wasn’t a lot. You will figure something out. In the meantime, be kind to yourself.


  6. Heya Uppington,

    I know you understand, honestly I marvel at the fact you are able to find any time to write! Thanks for your sympathy and moral support. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Maybe when the housing market turns around I can sell my house and move closer to my job so I don’t lose two hours a day sitting in the car. I’ve thought about getting one of those voice-activated recorders to dictate stuff while I drive, not sure how well that would work. I may try taking a notebook to work and jot stuff down during the day, that wouldn’t look too suspicious. If I sit there madly typing all day they’re going to figure out something’s up! LOL


  7. Hi DD,
    I am both a poser and a coward when it comes to my own writing so I have lttle insight to offer on how to carve out some time. But I will say I view your writing almost like “self-care” that you would never think of as a luxury. I don’t know if that relieves you of the frustration of finding the time, but it does help see it as the priority it is.

    On a separate, yet somewhat related tangent, I read that given these 2 choices: spotless house vs. messy house, a majority of women would chose a session of tepid sex in a spotlessly clean house over “hot and steamy, knock your sox off” sex in a messy house. Clearly this is just an anecdote, but it made me sad that women wouldn’t even lie and chose the hot sex/messy house option. But you could say it highlights the personal nature of choosing priorities.

    I’m with uppington — be gentle with yourself — all will progress in its own time.


    1. Rosie, my dear, you were never a poser, nor a coward! And it’s true that women are far too wrapped up in defining themselves by the cleanliness of their homes. I gotta tell ya, I’m not being neurotic about housekeeping. I’m just barely keeping up with bare minimum.

      That is so tragic that women would say they’d take a clean house over great sex. But then, we’re conditioned to say that kind of stuff publicly, even if we don’t really mean it. We’re still judged on what kind of housekeepers we are (we are, even if we don’t want to believe it in this day and age) so maybe those women who answered that way simply didn’t want to be thought of as slobs. Or maybe they’ve just never had really great sex and have no basis for comparison! Which is even sadder.


  8. I totally understand where you’re coming from, DD. I’m currently doing the full-time work stint (although right now it’s only temporary work) and having to squeeze in the writing is always a challenge. I opted for the early morning writing time because I’m just too goshdarned tired when I get home from work. I’ve also had to learn to just let the mess lay where it lies when I need to work on my writing. But I’ve never been much of a neatnik either. ๐Ÿ™‚

    It’s a Catch-22 that’s for sure. Wanting to write enough to make enough money so that you can work part-time or quit work altogether and then have more time to write but not having the time initially to write enough to….

    I think you get the picture. And, nope, it’s not a pretty one. But I think it is a trial and error kind of thing. People have done it, worked full-time jobs and managed to write. It’s just finding the right way of doing it that works best for you. Not easy but I believe it’s possible. I know I have to work in order to eat and have shelter and pay bills because the writing just ain’t paying enough, so I have to find a way to work around having to work for a living and also write. It’s either that or stop writing and I can’t do that. ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Hi Jenna,

      How’s the job going? Any chance it could turn into something permanent?

      I think people who manage to work a full-time job and find time to write have struck a balance in their lives somehow. They’ve given up something(s) to get the time to write. Maybe they quit cooking and eat nothing but Kra(p)ft Mac ‘n Cheese, or only do laundry once a month on the three articles of clothing they own. I dunno, all I know is I can’t do everything. I was never one of those superwomen who holds down a full-time job, keeps a spotless house and garden while shuttling children to ballet, soccer, school plays, music lessons, and volunteers for the PTA. Maybe I should toss all my dishes and eat off paper plates ๐Ÿ™‚


      1. No, it’s definitely only temporary. Which is fine. I had no illusions it would be. Just grateful for the work while I have it.

        As for working (or caring for a family) and writing, yeah, I think a writer has to give up something in order to make the time to write. But that’s pretty much true of anything.

        If we want to lose weight, we have to find the time to exercise. If we want to go back to school, we have to find the time to read the assigned chapters and write papers. There’s only so much time in a day so if we want to do something, we have to give up something else. Just a question of what will be sacrificed.

        I think, however, if we really look at our day and, as some of the time management gurus recommend, keep track of how we spend our time we can find those little gem-like moments where we can do our writing. I seriously believe that 10 minutes here or 15 minutes there add up. It may not be those long stretches of time that many of us writers crave (Two hours is my max for writing. Then I have to take a break), but any time spent writing (no matter how small) is far better than not writing at all. INHO, of course. ๐Ÿ™‚


  9. “On a separate, yet somewhat related tangent, I read that given these 2 choices: spotless house vs. messy house, a majority of women would chose a session of tepid sex in a spotlessly clean house over โ€œhot and steamy, knock your sox offโ€ sex in a messy house”

    – Well, they certainly didn’t poll me or any of the gals I know! Maybe it’s a generational thing? Because I wouldn’t hesitate a microsecond in screaming out I want the “knock your sox off sex”.

    But on a more serious note, to everyone here who’s been commenting on how difficult it is to find time to write- well, I just wanted to tell you all not to be so hard on yourselves. I’m amazed at how so many of you are able to juggle work, children, and still find time, any time to write. Your devotion is utterly commendable and inspiring.


  10. Thanks, Astro Sis ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have no kids to deal with, so I don’t even have that excuse! As Jenna said, though, I do make time to exercise, cycling is a high priority for me. I am kind of neurotic about trying to stay in shape, mostly because I watched my mother deteriorate from her first heart attack at the age of 50 to her death at age 83 (her sister lived into her 90s in poor health. Since the women in the family seem to be long-lived despite ill health, I decided I want to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible). I refuse to end up like that. So at least one thing is not negotiable when it comes to trading off time. Other than that, I am going to start really looking at where I can find more time for writing.


  11. Astro Sis,

    I think it’s fantastic that you bike so much. I’m a walker. Along with my toning exercises, I walk at least an hour a day. Strongly agree that you shouldn’t in any way cut out your workout. There’s definitely a link between physical health/energy and mental energy. And we writers need that mental energy!

    Maybe you could decide on some particular time to make as your sacred writing hour? “Family, 8pm-9pm is my daily writing hour for now on. I shall be locked in my room. Don’t disturb me unless the house is on fire.” And just give them a Scorpionic eye as warning. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  12. Tasha – perfect, if you *have* a room, and your writing space isn’t in the middle of central headquarters, lol. Also, I don’t know about anybody else, but my muse is so contrary that if I set that level of “I will write now” time, she just sits in the corner and thumbs her nose at me while I sit at the keyboard feeling stupid and guilty and accomplish not a thing.


  13. Could you take a weaker dose of your sleepy meds occasionally, so that you could make the insomnia work FOR you? for example, maybe skip or take half as much on Friday night, write all night, and sleep in on Saturday morning, when it’ll probably rain anyway. I sort of love sleeping late on a rainy Saturday.

    p.s. to Rosie –
    I know for a fact that you pack more into your waking hours than anybody has a right to expect – if you were writing as well you’d make me feel like the worst kind of slacker – one with a messy house AND no fiction to show for it.


  14. I generally don’t take the pills on weekends, mostly ’cause I’m cheap and don’t want to use them up when I don’t absolutely have to! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I do find I’m (as a rule) more productive in the morning though, although I got 800 words done last evening. It still amazes me that I was able to keep up in NaNoWriMo as long as I did. I haven’t been able to do that much in a single day since. Maybe that’s what’s frustrating me.

    And don’t feel bad, my house looks like the wreck of the Hesperis!


  15. It’s not exactly that I don’t trust people w/spotless homes, I just feel a little sad that they don’t have something more fun to do w/their time.


  16. armondhammer has a touch of that, although I love him dearly. Did I mention that he has half a dozen cats and the place is still clean as a whistle?


  17. Many thanks, DD and MJB, for your kind words. I think Americans have some kind of obsession with these weird standards for “busyness.” The perception of being judged on your housekeeping standards is just one. As long as the basic health codes are covered i think we should all just relax and move on to the things that have greater meaning — like writing or playing Uno with the kids or making steamy love.

    That said, this is much easier said than done. There is nothing as rewarding as reminding loved ones that your efforts are making civilized life possible for the rest of them, and they had better appreciate all the hard work you do around here. That toxic resentment kept me going for a long time — until one day one of my kids said, “Mom, if you want some help, all you have to do us ask. Banging the pots around and mumbling under your breath just makes you look like a crazy person we’d rather avoid.” Since then I just ask for help and tell them what I need.


    1. Yeah, see, I never got that kind of offer from my MTU’s (Male Teenage Units). Must be different with girls. With boys (and men) you pretty much have to throw the hissy fit to get their attention to begin with. They don’t see “mess”, it doesn’t compute, I think it’s something to do with the Y chromosome.


  18. Rosie – that is too funny! My oldest is insightful like that. DD – my MTUs are both different. My oldest will often help without being asked (if he notices – as you say, cleanliness & order aren’t on the radar). My youngest has the delightful skill of flitting into the kitchen as the last dish is being washed, giving me a hug, and saying, “Do you want me to help?” He figures that way he gets brownie points for offering, but isn’t in any danger of doing real work, lol. And even though I know what he’s doing, the charm still works on me. The adult male in my house is the one who sees that things are getting messy long before I do. He doesn’t fix it – he says that is a job for the teen slave labor force, and he’s very good at ‘motivating’ them to do it.


  19. Oh boy, I am the pod people. My home is generally spotless and orderly. Well, not right this minute today but 99% of the time. Not only is it shiny clean but I also have a place for everything so that nothing is lying around. Not having a lot of belongings helps but still. I didn’t realize I was so unnatural!


    1. Ha! and you admit it publicly! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Seriously, keeping up with everything is either an art or a personality type. I guess that means I am either unartistic, or have the wrong personality type. When I’m gone from home upwards of 12 hours a day I just don’t have the wherewithal to dive into housework when I get home in the evenings. It would probably help if I had a working dishwasher, too. Or less stuff ๐Ÿ˜‰


      1. It’s a personality type. My OCD kicks in when I see dirt. No, seriously, I have a borderline OCD personality. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ A working dishwasher helps tremendously though. You are absolutely right.


  20. Not 2B sexist, but I think a lot of guys do see the mess – they just don’t see it as their mission to fix it.

    The world is changing, but much too slowly, and I think most people – male AND female – see a messy house as a reflection on the woman who lives there. Nobody ever visits a couple with a messy home, and walks out saying “wow, is HE a terrible homemaker,” even if they both have the same number of demands on their time.


    1. I think there’s a lot of truth in that. My son once told me the guys’ version of that joke, “How many men does it take to put a new roll of toilet paper on the holder? A: None. That’s the woman’s job.” And I didn’t smite him on the spot. As I often tell him, “I made you, I can break you.”

      I used to try to get my ex to pitch in with housework, because he’d complain that all I wanted to do on weekends was clean. I remember once trying to get him to help out and his reponse was “What do you want me to do?” I said, “Look around — start ANYWHERE.” He had no idea what to do, he just didn’t see anything amiss.


  21. Maybe it’s the lawyer in me, but I was very big on negotiationg specific chores, early on. Fang’s a very decent cook, will vacuum if I remind him, empty the dishwasher if it’s his turn, and is fully responsible for his own dirty laundry (once in a while, he will buy a new package of BVDs if he runs outta clean ones, but that’s cool too -why should I have to shop for his underwear? If this happens b/c he’s swamped at work, I will throw a few of his things in w/my white load, but not often enough to make it a habit – you know: 3X in a row and it becomes yr job.) Getting him to dust or clean the bathroom is a lost cause, so I use it as a justification for why I never mow the lawn, and only rarely bag leaves or tie up recyclable newspapers.


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