First day of school blues

All ready for school!
Today is my older son’s first day of kindergarten. When he was born almost five years ago, this day seemed so far away, but now, with seemingly no warning, it’s here. This day, and these last few months in general, have been somewhat of emotional roller coaster for me.
To make a long story into a somewhat shorter story, I was a stay-at-home mom for a few weeks this summer. Summer is usually a slow time for the work I do, and it seemed like a good time to try out my ideas of working less and being with family more. Did I enjoy it? Almost all of it, except for one big part. I worry about money all the time. It’s just my nature to do so. And that I wasn’t contributing to the household very much did upset me. So one day, I asked my older son if he wanted to go back to camp for the rest of the summer, and he said, “Yes, I really want to!”

Most kids like being around other kids. And while I took him to the playground every day, it obviously was not enough for him. Not everyone is like me and just wants to be left alone in the dark to read a book, after all (yes, this is something I enjoyed at age five). At that point, I realized it would probably better for both of us if I went back to work full time. I did feel some guilt with my just-turned-a-year-old son, who is going through horrible separation anxiety, and just wants to be with me all day. But I know that in a few weeks or months, he too will start playing with his daycare friends, and look forward to school.

And as for me, I’ve been at work for about three weeks now. I do genuinely enjoy editing, so that’s always a plus, to like what you do. The coworkers and boss are all as sane as you can get in the world of advertising, and as usual, the Diet Coke is free, so I can’t complain. The fact that I can go to the bathroom without anyone screaming for me and opening the door and place a hot cup of coffee on a table without worrying that someone will knock it over is just a bonus.

But today is my son’s first day of kindergarten and my first day off work, and as school gets out at the crazy time of 11:10, I am looking forward to taking my son out for a quality afternoon of movies and ice cream.

Blah blah adverse events blah blah important safety information

I may have discovered an even more counterproductive way to write. As I have previously mentioned, my first two books were written in first draft with paper and pen. When I wrote the first chapter of Witch Blood, I was almost ready to release Wild Blood, and wanted to include it at the end. In my hurry to write, I did the unthinkable, and typed it directly into Word. That led me to my revelation: typing is much quicker than writing longhand. And, since that means the second draft doesn’t consist of transcribing notebooks of copy, that would make the process go faster as well. 

At first, I was elated that I had joined the rest of you in this century at typing my book directly onto my computer. And it was going so much faster than the first two books. But then, something bad happened–a new drug was launched. Okay, so technically that’s not a bad thing. Some may even call it a good thing, as I’m a freelance medical editor who gets paid by the hour. And don’t get me wrong–I love making money. But having transitioned from non-drug-launch average of about 20 hours of work a week to the drug launch average of about 50, I have to say that it is also quite tiring. 

While I used to get off work by mid-afternoon and have plenty of time to get home and write about two hours a day and also make dinner, I am now going in early and staying late and even working when my kid goes to bed and on weekends. Making mac and cheese has now become a time luxury I can’t afford. So you can guess what has happened to my writing in all of this. 

Believe me, when you spend ten hours a day staring at a 165-page document that goes something like “Blah blah liver failure blah toxoplasmosis blah antihypertensives,” the last thing you want to do is relax by sitting in front of a computer and typing. Let’s just say my sofa and I are almost as friendly now as we were during my maternity leave. So apart from waiting a few weeks for the work insanity to be over, I wondered when I could fit in some daily writing. It occurred to me that I didn’t want to sacrifice any of my precious relaxing on the sofa time, so the only occasion I would have to write was when it was otherwise impossible to relax. 

Since it’s fairly impossible to write while washing dishes or cleaning the cat litter pan (if any of you have figured this out, please let me know!), I began writing on the subway during my daily commute. And because it takes 45 minutes each way on a good day to get back and forth from Queens to TriBeCa, I manage to get a fair bit of writing done. 

Now, one may ask whether it is feasible or even safe to work on a computer while riding the subway. Since I have a desktop rather than a laptop, the answer for me is decidedly no. So have I once again abandoned technology in favor of paper and pen? No. Instead, I may have come up with an even more ineffective way of writing. 

What I do is this: I take out my handy iPhone and open up a new draft email. Then, since there has been a rash of iPhone theft on the subway (aka, apple picking), I clutch the device tightly with my left hand and type everything in with my poor, abused right pointer finger. Once I get home, cook dinner, eat dinner, read to child, bathe child, and put child to bed, I am free to go to my computer and copy and paste what I’ve written into my Word document. Then, if I haven’t brought work home with me, I am free to go sit on my sofa and dream of a future in which I am a full-time writer.