We’re roughly three weeks into this grand reboot of my life. So far, so fantastic. The apartment is set up, I’ve already reconed the neighborhood and figured out where to eat, shop and work out. My neighbors and the beat cops know who I am. The local business owners are smiling and greeting me by name. I’m living well within my means and picking up some odd jobs to make sure I can sustain myself for as long as possible to give this writing thing as much time as possible to take off.
So, I figured, no more regular obligations. No more having to be anywhere at a specified time. Nothing but long, lazy days stretching out endlessly before me to mold as I see fit. I would be able to churn out the words, 5,000 a day, until FORTRESS FRONTIER was in the can months under deadline, and I could focus on plotting BREACH ZONE and my next series proposal simultaneously.
Not so fast.
My buddy Pete had warned me about this. “You have to understand,” he said. “There are Night People who are only really active on evenings and weekends. During the weekdays, they work regular jobs that consume all their time. Then there are the Day People who set their own schedules. You’ve been a Night Person all your life. You’re about to become a Day Person.”
He followed with this dire warning that I utterly failed to heed.
“Once you step into that role, other Day People will come out of the woodwork. They will welcome you. They will celebrate you. And they will consume every precious second of every day for the rest of your natural life.”
I have frequently teased Pete about always being right about everything. Most of the time I’m happy to level that accusation. After all, he predicted the SHADOW OPS series would sell when every publisher in the English speaking world were turning up their noses at it. But his time, I only wish he were wrong.
The onslaught has been ridiculous. First, the silly administrative tasks pile up: laundry, shopping, fighting with the DMV back in DC to accept my returned tags so I can cancel my car insurance. Next, the Coast Guard weighs in with a variety of important administrative tasks I have to complete from home: putting in sailors for medals. Writing school entrance endorsements. Arranging for travel and accommodations for my upcoming Active Duty for Training stint.
And then there are the legions of people, friends and family who are welcoming me to New York with happy hours and late night phone calls that stretch for hours. Two friends from DC showed up in New York City on the same weekend and hit me up to come out and say hello. An absolutely gorgeous woman stalked me on Facebook and demanded I take her out for drinks. It’s the kind of thing I’d wished would have happened to me back when I had nothing to get done outside the 9 to 5. It’s all delightful. It’s intensely flattering. I have never felt so appreciated or welcomed in my life.
But I didn’t come to New York City to socialize. I came to be a writer. And that means writing or writing related tasks (like updating this blog) occupies the majority of my time. I’ve been learning the hard lesson of having to do for myself what the day job used to do for me: structuring my time. Being selective about who I can see and when I can see them. Learning when I have to say “I’d love to, but I have to work today.”
The irony is killing me. Being a Day Person is, so far, the exact opposite of what I had expected.
(A special thank you to Chris Evans, who sat with me beside Union Square and listened to me rant about this issue for a full 2 hours. It made me feel better to see him nod sagely and say “yep. Sounds about right.”)