I’ve been working part time at this coffee kiosk for a little over a month now, and it made me realize something the other day.
I don’t value my writing time as “work time.”
I don’t mean that I’m not charging clients (well, client) when I do marketing and communications work. Because I do. In this, I’m referring to my fiction writing.
Almost from my first day, the kiosk has been calling me in for extra shifts (I got the first one after only three days of training, and it was for a shift I hadn’t trained for yet.) Which isn’t the worst thing in the world, I suppose. I’m definitely one of those “team players” (meaning I have a hard time saying “No,” and I hate to think that someone else is struggling.) It looks good on my resume that I worked 25 days straight leading up to Christmas 2015 because there was no one else to do it, right?
Except this causes two problems. One, I wind up exhausted, both physically and emotionally, which leaves me vulnerable to mood swings and panic attacks. And two, I give up what should be writing time to put on my uniform and throw coffee around for a few hours.
I’m in the middle of an eight day stretch right now, working every day between two stores (today’s shift is panic-enducing for an entirely different reason.) I closed at my normal store last night (and got out only ten minutes late, getting home around 10pm) and I am currently on my way to start a 6am shift at another store.
I am tired. I had maybe 4 hours of sleep, though I was seriously considering pulling an all-nighter so I could work on my Camp NaNo project.
I almost agreed to pick up a third shift at this other store this coming week, but it would have left me with only one day off (and not even a full 40 hours between all six days!)
One day off to let my feet and knees and hips recover, and work on jewelry prep for an upcoming market, and write.
Because I don’t look at my writing hours as “working hours.” They offer a shift, and I take it because “I’m not doing anything.”
And in the end, writing doesn’t happen. My projects fester, neglected, as deadlines pass.
I have to remind myself that I’m working four jobs, and all of them need attention.