There was a time when my life was simpler, yet less rewarding. Before my son came into this world, I had full days to work on writing and writing-related projects. I was able to control my schedule better, I was able to implement more time with my wife and more time for me.
Alas, things change. But that’s not a bad thing. The time I spend with my son is an infinitely more rewarding tradeoff. However, my days are a bit hectic. Some days I feel like I’m juggling chainsaws, bowling balls, and feral cats. Some days, it seems as if they all come crashing down on me.
It used to be a common occurrence for friends and family who didn’t truly understand what I did for a living to label me as a stay-at-home-writer-who-sits-and-writes-all-day kind of guy. It was irritating and insulting, yet it did more to destroy my self-confidence than it did to spur me on to rage. Many of my critics thought I just sat in a chair and wrote all day. Just sat and wrote. I wish it were that easy. A tip for those of you who don’t understand what writers do for a living: Telling a writer that all they do all day is sit in a chair and write is like telling a football wide receiver that all they do all day is stand in a field and catch a ball.
Nowadays though, I don’t struggle with that self-confidence. I know that I work FULL days, and the time that I am relaxing is time well-deserved.
My schedule is more than a little hectic. On a typical weekday I’m up at 4:30am. I shower, then I sit at my desk with my breakfast and my cup of coffee while I read a chapter from my Bible. I finish getting ready, help get my son ready, and then I’m out the door to take my wife to work. Once that’s done, I decide what to do with my son. Sometimes I take him to the park, sometimes I take him into San Francisco to do any number of things, or sometimes I come back home and throw cartoons on (educational cartoons, mind you, not that Spongebob malarkey) while I clean the apartment. Most days I read stories to him, I do preschool activities with him, and I try my best to be an active and involved dad.
Late morning comes around and I’m making our lunches. We eat while I watch an episode of something interesting on Netflix or Hulu – usually The Office or Shark Tank. Then my son is down for a nap and I’m off to work. I blog, I Facebook, I Twitter and tweet. I work on the various logistics of the publishing company I am in the process of starting. I even edit the episodes of my current short story series, The LZR Project. No matter what I’m doing, I always manage to take an hour break in there to kill my fellow buddies on a few games of Half Life 2: Deathmatch.
Before my son awakens early afternoon, I find myself washing more dishes than I remember dirtying. Why in the world do the apartments in Daly City not have dishwashing machines?
Once dishes are done, I get my son ready and we leave to pick up my wife from work. Then it’s dinner time. Then I’m back to work – after my son’s nightly prayers and a yank of Woody’s pull string to hear a funny quip.
It is at this point of the day that I feel like I’ve completed a full day already. I’m tired, I’m a bit sore depending on what my son and I did earlier in the day. Some caffeinated tea or some coffee perks me up and I’m back at it. Currently, my nights have been split with writing (sometimes solo and sometimes through an online writing meeting with a buddy of mine) and video editing for my upcoming Kickstarter video.
When 9pm comes around, I usually call it quits and delve into a wee bit of gaming before I settle into bed. I sleep well assuming my downstairs neighbor isn’t puffing marijuana out of his window and into my bedroom, the local fire trucks and ambulances aren’t making their hundredth visit to our complex, or rowdy Bay Area ruffians aren’t drunk and screaming at each other in the parking lot.
I live full days. Great days. Amidst it all, I struggle with anxiety and the rest of my own setbacks. I fear that all my work will never result in success. I fear I’m not pouring into my son as much as I should be. I fear, sometimes, what others think of me. My mind is burning fuel before my eyes open in the morning and continues to thrive off fumes well beyond when my eyes close at night. My prayers are always for peace and a clear head to navigate my way through my day-to-day.
It’s just another day in the life of a stay-at-home-writer-dad. And I love it.