Saw a re-run show on 60 Minutes last night about modern workaholics. They claim that work weeks are averaging 60-80 hours rather than 40 these days, and they blame the digital age for the increase: BlackBerry devices, smart phones, Wi-Fi, and related ilk.
It’s true that both fosteronfilm and I are working 80-hour+ weeks pretty regularly–heck, I routinely work 12-14 hour days, 7-days a week–and yes, like the couple they featured, sometimes we do indeed email each other in the same house, or even across the same room, rather than get up and go talk. But I dunno if I blame technology for my increased nose-to-keyboard time. I don’t have a BlackBerry–although I do indeed covet one with much wistful-eyed longing–and our cellphone is on the lowest minute plan available, relegated to “emergency only” usage. Plus I had easy Internet access (although not Wi-Fi) before in my old day job when I only worked a measly 40 hours (actually 38.75 hours) a week.
See, it’s not gadgets prompting my increased industriousness; it’s love. (And to a lesser extent insanity paired with anxiety over impending starvation.) I love what I do. And I’m thinking it’s gotta be the case with these other work-freaks too, because if you don’t love something, you’re not going to throw yourself into it for 80-hours a week, no matter how juiced-up the pay is.
Even when I’m ghostwriting website content about vinyl siding, I love the simple act of laying words on the page and getting them spruced up fine a hundred times more than I ever cared about what I was doing at my old workplace. And the times when I can actually produce content which interests (or fascinates) me, or best of all, fiction that makes me weep from the sheer intensity of the emotion I’m pouring out, why, that’s a better high than jumping out of an airplane at 14K feet.
And I’d better love it. The pay sucks, the benefits are nonexistent, and the lumps are pretty lumpy. There’s more disappointment in this game than gold stars, even for a writer who can manage to make regular sales.
So yeah, I love it. Good for me. That’s enough frivolous validation; there’s writing that needs doing.
I started getting back into my fiction yesterday. Haven’t written a word of it since we got back from Illinois. Then a flurry of emails came in; I stopped to reply to them (Dragon*Con work), then that segued to some outstanding (as in on the back burner, not the excellently cool “outstanding”) Tangent work, and I realized I needed to get some freelance words on the page. Suddenly my day was mostly over and me with only a few sentences of fiction written.
My fiction muscle is atrophying! I can feel it getting all limp and flabby. I need to bulk up dem hamsters, quit juggling them, and start using them as dumbbells. Or projectiles . . .
In the news-to-cheer-about arena, I asked my Cricket/Cicada editor, Deborah Vetter, if she’d be willing to be interviewed for my Writing for Young Readers column at Writing-World, and she agreed! Sweet! Major-big children’s lit. editor Q/A goodness forthcoming. I’m aiming for September’s installment.
And also in the yay news category, I got a very glowy review from sartorias for “The Archer of the Sun and the Lady of the Moon”:
“Eugie Foster’s “The Archer of the Sun and the Lady of the Moon” gave me that frisson I get when reading Chinese myth . . . I forget for a time I’m reading in English—recalling the same enticing sense of Beyond the Fields We Know that I got when first exploring Chinese tales in library books when I was small . . . Jealousy, love, power, mercy, and ferocity imbue the beauty of the tale with real emotion, but what binds it together and fixes it among the stars is the question of whether the finite can find harmony with the infinite.”
– 2000 on a freelance jobbie.
– 9-day “Didn’t hold” from JJA of F&SF. Big, pointy disappointment on this one. I really had hopes that this story would make it past JJA, and he didn’t even finish it. Pook.