Monday, January 09, 2006

Livin' by my pen...er, laptop

Schedule is one of the most salient issues I deal with in my career as a full-time freelancer. Ever since my early teens, I've been a night owl; during summer vacations and weekends, I'd stay awake reading until 2am, 3am, even 4am, and then wake up in the late morning and pick up my book again. During the four years between high school and college, my "partying years" you could call them, I was often out and about late into the night - when nothing except the local Amoco gas station and convenience store was open. And as a college student, I learned very quickly never to schedule a class earlier than 10am, as I was often awake late into the night, reading or working on papers.

I spent the first 10 months after graduation working a regular 8-to-5 job; for a year, I went to bed at 10:30 or 11pm, practically every night. When I quit to freelance full-time, however, my schedule quickly changed. Now I'm often awake until 2am, working after Michael goes to sleep, and I don't wake up until late morning.

It's Michael's presence in my life that keeps my schedule as regular as it is. Without him, any regularity would quickly disappear and I'd probably be losing track of the days before you knew it. There are nights (like last night) that I feel tired much earlier than 2am, and shut out the lights early; and then there are nights where I feel motivated and inspired, and would probably keep working until I dropped from exhaustion.

Yesterday, I had an idea for a little snippet I wanted to write; however, we were in the car, and the inspiration was fleeting. Perhaps I could get it back if I really tried, but if I'd had the luxury to do so, I would have written it right then and there. Visions are so much richer when you first conceptualize them, rather than after they've spent days or weeks on your to-do list. If it weren't for Michael - my anchor to the real world - I know that I would soon be living by my laptop, catching sleep between visions, with no regularity to my schedule whatsoever. In some ways, it's good that Michael is here to continually remind me of the real world and keep me somewhat sychronized to it; but in some ways, I also know that a normal schedule can be like a cage to me, preventing me from flexing my creative muscles. I guess my current schedule is a compromise to that: one foot in the real world, one foot in the next.

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