Writing between the hours of 9 and 5 is really difficult for me. And it’s taken me six years as a professional, full-time writer to recognize that it’s sort of a problem.
How it has always worked before is that I spent the almighty Designated Working Hours doing all of the writing tasks that are not writing: emailing, scheduling interviews, conducting interviews, editing, researching, invoicing, etc., etc. Actual writing was reserved for the couch, after hours or on the weekends. So that’s what I did.
The other morning, I posted the following status update on Facebook: “I was sincerely committed to not letting parenthood change me, but now that I see ‘buy photo paper’ on my to-do list, resistance just seems futile.” I know. Funny, right? I live to amuse myself.
Soon after, a friend very sweetly and genuinely commented about the joy he felt in the way his son has changed everything about the way he thinks and feels. My immediate reaction was to jokingly reply, “Yeah, but I was already awesome before having a kid.” I didn’t, partly because I didn’t want to imply that he wasn’t (he was!), but mostly because of another reason the joke might not land: It’s a little too close to how I really feel about myself.
Well, I had a kid. And here I am, back behind my desk, working on the new challenge of keeping a tiny person fed, clothed and housed with the same old task of typing thoughts into the internet. We could segue into the miracle of childbirth here, but everyone has heard that before. Plus, I personally found the experience less miraculous and more a sciencey. Very cool, life-changing, intense science, but it definitely fit more into the scientific marvel than mystic miracle category for me. Not sure why that matters, but there it is.
To me, the real mystic happening is how parenthood changes this, the state of being a freelancer. I am doing, or getting back to doing at least, the same thing I was doing six weeks ago. Filtering my inbox, reaching out to sources, setting up interviews, researching and crafting stories from the results. But my motivations, methods and philosophy around all of it have shifted. Not drastically, but still dramatically; the way a silver of sunlight in the corner of window changes the lighting in an entire house. Here’s how.