I spent most of my twenties participating in spoken word poetry competitions and workshops, scamming beers off cute guys in smoky bars and trashing famous poets. In 2008, I published a book of poetry called The Ghosts of Anne and Sylvia with one of my best friends, the author Jasmine Paul. I had never actually considered writing a fiction novel until about nine months ago when I found myself exploring the seeds of a story that just wouldn’t go away, no matter how hard I tried to shake it loose. There was nothing that could have prepared me for the gripping obsession that powers a fiction writer until I found myself immersed in the book that I am writing now.
I am lucky enough to have a day job that I enjoy, working remotely in project management with mostly East Coast based clients. My office hours are 9:00-5:30 EST which translates to 6:00-2:30 PST, just about the time my kids come barreling down the driveway. As schedules go, it is early but pretty ideal. I have the flexibility to spend time in the afternoon with my two kiddos and make dinner for the family. After working a full day, helping with homework, running errands and picking up the house I am pretty much brain dead when bedtime rolls around. I originally tried writing in the evenings, but found myself either snoozing in the recliner with my laptop sliding towards the floor or else sucked into the brain numbing joys of evening television.
My solution to the time crunch? I set back the alarm and changed my writing schedule to Monday through Friday from 4:30 AM to 6:00 AM with time for editing on the weekends. The problem with being a writer is that the story inside you is always hammering for a way out. It doesn’t go away because you are tired, or you need to do the dishes or get just one more email sent out before the morning. Writing to me is more than a compulsion, it is as much a part of me as the freckles on my nose or my crooked pinky toe. Each morning when I feel the urge to reach over and add just a bit more time to the alarm, I ask myself; “How badly do you want this? Are you willing to sacrifice?” As long the coffee pot is set to auto-brew, I know I can push past the fatigue and enjoy the quiet breath of a sleeping house and the sweet staccato of my fingertips on the keyboard.