Tonight I chose to watch Legally Blond on TV instead of working on my WIP. My plan was, of course, to write during the movie, which I’ve seen multiple times. I’d opened a bottle of wine and decided that a position stretched out on the sofa, laptop on knee, would be far more comfortable than sitting perched at my desk. It had been a hard day at the office, after all. The movie — which I happen to also own on DVD — would be no more than a backdrop to my productive tap tap tapping.
As it turns out, I would have been better served to inject the DVD and watch the movie without advertisements. At least then it would have finished more quickly, leaving more time with the TV switched off for me to resume productivity… Because I did not produce one word during the two hours I sprawled in front of that movie. I watched the entire program avidly, commercials and all.
So… Let’s talk about choices.
I blogged recently about the craziness of having two careers. My conclusion was that I write because I can’t not write, but this is perhaps a convenient perspective. A writer friend of mine has regularly stated on her blog that she will not complain about her crazy schedule because she chooses to live her life this way. That struck a chord in me.
Everything in our lives comes down to choices. Whether or not to run a red light. Or visit our family. Or turn up to work. Or make it to the gym. As writers we become fixated on choices during storytelling. The choices our characters make define the plot — and the characters themselves.
Thus do I choose to write, to have two careers. This decision defines me. I must not complain either.
Sometimes it is hard, however, when one is about to explode from all the activities one has chosen to fit into one’s life, not to scream with the frustration of it all. Right now, for example, I am tearing my hair out trying to determine how to squeeze exercise into my schedule. When every waking minute outside of career #1 is accounted for — currently a combination of working on my WIP, blogging, reading/showing support for other WANA112 participants’ blogs, plus a news and Dr Who TV-dinner allotment of 1.5 hours per day — where is the workout to go?
Again, I have to make a choice.
Which brings me back to tonight’s choice. What possessed me to try to write with Legally Blond on TV? I love that movie! Deep down, I knew when I put it on that my productivity would suffer. (I did, however, manage to squeeze in a half-hour walk before dinner.)
Sometimes the choices are hard, and this is perhaps where discipline comes in. I have previously discussed the whole ‘bum on seat’ concept, and usually, if I make it as far as opening my WIP document, I produce the goods. Thus I am a little bit mad with myself for wasting a writing opportunity this evening.
However, I also recognise that I am currently tired and emotional (for various reasons). I tell myself that, just as we can choose to take on a second career and have a crazy life, so can we also choose to take a break every once in a while.
How about you guys? How often do you cut yourself some slack and give yourself some chill-out time? How closely related are ‘choice’ and ‘discipline’?