This is a bit of a confession. Indulge me.
I read this yesterday in an article I reblogged on Tumblr: “‘books are written with time stolen from other people’ (Paolo Bacigalupi? Anyway I heard it from him)”.
It is true. Any writing time is stolen time, at least as long as you’re not able to do it full time. So I’m stealing my time everywhere I can get it. On my lunch break, after work, but best before I go home, because I don’t seem to be able to write very well at home. Perhaps the lack of a desk is to be blamed.
But at times it feels as if time to write is stolen from me. Family and friends steal my time. I know this sounds harsh, but with the limited time I have, I find myself resenting having my time stolen. I know they don’t do it on purpose. I know they deserve my time. I love them, I give it freely. But I only ever like to give so much. I don’t want them to have it all. I can’t let them have it all.
I need to steal some time back to write.
The worst part is that I feel guilty about how I feel about all of it. I feel especially guilty, when I have time stolen from me and resenting the “thief”.
I’ve never said it in so many words. I never asked anyone to leave me alone, because my time is so precious and I need to write instead of having small-talk. I’ve mentioned it here and there and repeatedly on my blog, how important my time is to me.
Hanging out with friends I try to forget about where I’d rather be. I want to enjoy my time with them and not be a spoilsport. I want to be there for them and with them. Even more where my family is concerned.
But there’s always a point where I find myself pulling back and wishing I could write. And if it doesn’t happen right away, it will emerge later, once I’m by myself again and I look at what I was working on and how I had hoped to have done so much more already.
How could I ever hope to make new friends or possibly sustain a longterm relationship with a significant other, where I would invest yet more time?
It shouldn’t be like this. It’s unfair to everyone involved.
Instead I should write full-time and have time with family and friends when I am done with my work (never mind that I’ll never be done) like everyone else.
In other words: it’s my day job that steals most of my time, but it’s my family and friends and ultimately myself, who suffer for it, because I have to be so incredibly selfish about my time. That often includes neglecting emails, not checking my phone for messages and never looking at WhatsApp and whatnot. I spend no time on Facebook and have my chat off, so no one can disturb me. I never log into Skype unless I’ve arranged to have a chat, usually with my parents.
I have almost no contact to my brother unless we see each other, because we’re either both in Berlin or going on a trip somewhere together or visit each other.
I have five months and 13 days left in my job. I hope I will never have to return to an office job once I leave this one.
I like my day job, most of the time anyway. I’m lucky enough to work with a great bunch of people and even though corporate America is not for me, my company is at least in an industry that I care about a great deal.
I’ve got little to complain about. My main problem is that I need this job to pay the bills.
I don’t want to write on stolen time. I don’t want my time stolen from me. I just want to write and see my family and friends without it feeling like I’m making a sacrifice. They don’t know what it feels like to me. I’ve never told them.
Now you know. At least someone does.