10 Reasons I’d Rather Be Writing

It’s nearly eleven on Sunday night, and I’ve just woken up from a 3-hour nap. There’s something inherently “nappy” about Sundays. We got up early to meet friends for brunch, and getting up early + lots of food = the perfect recipe for a late afternoon snooze. Of course, I woke up with my bra digging uncomfortably into my ribs, hungry, cranky, wide awake, and in no mood to skip dinner. I compromised with some Life cereal and soymilk instead of the alfredo-smothered cheese tortellinis I really wanted, but it’s still not advisable to go to bed on a carbed-up stomach. So…

Good evening! Thus begins another weekly cycle of staying up all night, being a total zombie all day.

I’m a night person, no way around it. I’ve always been. I remember times in high school when I’d wander downstairs at 2 in the morning and find Mom equally perky, watching TV or cleaning something. One time there was a power outage, so Mom and I lit some candles, broke out the Girl Scout cookies and played this card game called Rack-O till the sun came up. She’s still like that. It’s why she can follow around my baby brother’s band, staying at gigs till 4 am, and why most of our conversations these days take place over late night IM sessions.

So, reason #1 I’d rather be writing: I’m genetically predispositioned to be a night person.

I do my best work after 9 PM and am all but useless before noon. If I appear to be alert and excited at a morning meeting, it’s only an illusion. I think nothing of drinking 2 cups of coffee at 10 PM, or starting a movie at 11. That’s probably what drew me to New York in the first place, all those many moons ago. That place truly never sleeps (and you can get good coffee anywhere).

Reason #2 is all about words.

Words that my characters, 16-year-olds Anna Reiley and Frankie Perino, would never speak… but words that swirl around the corporate suck like mini tornados. On Friday, I started tracking them. Here is but a sampling, a smattering if you will, of actual quips and quotes from from the robot graveyard:

  • “We need to create a story around this product.”
  • “I asked the architect if we should get a skunk SWAT team on this ASAP.”
  • “Why aren’t we locking ourselves in a room for 5 hours to hammer this thing out?”
  • “Come on, people, we need to think beyond the boxes of our little world.”
  • “This is simply an addressment of the problem.”
  • “Can we have a dialogue about that?”
  • “We need to descope this thing. Scope creep is out of control.”
  • “I don’t know; that’s going to require some effort.”
  • “This relationship is all about communication. We see ourselves as your partners in communicating.”
  • “Let’s reconnect on that later.”
  • “You’re too cynical. You can’t be a marketer if you want to be honest all the time.”

Mixed metaphors. Clichés. Turning verbs into nouns and back again. Sheesh, could you imagine if I let my girls speak this way in the book?

  • “Anna, what’s up with your hair?” Frankie asks. “You’re definitely not thinking beyond the boxes of your little hair-world today.”
  • “Frank, I’m using my hair to create a story around myself.” Anna closes her eyes and sprays her bangs with another coat.
  • Frankie is not satisfied. “Anna, we need to have a dialogue about this hair situation. You look like a circus clown.”
  • “Frankie, calling me a circus clown is not really an addressment of the problem,” Anna says, teasing her hair from root to tip. “We need to lock ourselves in a room for 5 hours to hammer this thing out.”
  • “Anna,” Frankie demands, “how do you expect to lose your virginity this summer if you insist on wearing your hair that way?”
  • Anna spits the bobby pins from her mouth. “What? You said this was just a summer vacation! Losing my virginity is not in scope for this summer. That’s going to require some effort, Frank.”
  • “Anna, you’re so cynical. This relationship is supposed to be about communication. Let’s reconnect on it later.”

Reason #3: Alex.

He just gave me a foot rub while singing a made-up song he calls, “It’s a Husband’s Job to Make Sarah Happy”. How great is that? I love clacking away on my laptop in the living room while he’s working on some Web project in his home office, which has real walls made out of plaster and brick, an actual door, no gray fabric, and no one in a bad suit looming behind him, prattling on about project impact reports.

Reason #4: Drinking in the afternoon.

Or the morning, if that helps jumpstart the creativity. I bet I could even deal with all the corporate jargon if I could drink in the office. But we had to sign a Code of Ethics strictly prohibiting such debauchery (and most of the time, we adhere to it!). We also can’t misrepresent the company outside of work, engage in insider trading, force others to perform sexual acts in order to advance their careers, or participate in illicit drug use. Man, they never let us have any fun. But writing? Writers can get away with all kinds of lunacy under the guise of “reasearch for my book.” *Hiccup!*

Reason #5: No Internet police.

That’s right, when I’m home writing, I can go on any site I want. No one is tracking me. No one is telling me which browsers I can use and what software I can download, sucking me into their Microsoft monopoly. I can browse through blogger and not get the obnoxious “Access Denied: Personal or offensive content” message that pops up whenever I stumble upon a site the firewall doesn’t like.

Reason #6: Sunsets outside my balcony.

I am not a fan of leaving work when it’s dark outside. It makes me feel like the last stupid girl in the zombie movie, the one who was listening to her iPod and missed the blaring announcement that all remaining living humans should hole up at the mall and wait for the national gaurd. The one who inevitably gets eaten. Especially in the winter – entire months go by in darkness. I look out my window at all the traffic coursing through the veins of Interstate 25 in the middle of the day and wonder, where are you going? Don’t you people have jobs?

Reason #7: Afternoon naps for no good reason.

Just me and my woobie. *Yawn.* ‘Nuff said.

Reason #8: PJs.

Anna and Frankie don’t care what I wear when I show up to greet them. They don’t even care if I shower or brush my teeth. I can bring coffee and be late without being accused of unprofessionalism. I can ditch out on them early, or blow them off entirely for weeks on end, with no verbal abuse or threats of lost paycheck to follow.

Reason #9: No lies.

I don’t have to lie to my readers. In fact, I can’t lie to you – you won’t trust me, and Anna and Frankie won’t get to tell their story. Yet in the coroporate suck, lying is mandatory (see aforementioned comment, “You can’t be a marketer if you want to be honest all the time.”). They make us lie – lie to our customers, lie to senior management, lie to ourselves. It’s so… dirty! It’s worse than riding the subway on a 90 degree day in New York City. You have to shower when you get home just to rinse off the shame. Dirty dirty dirty!

And the most important reason I’d rather be writing…

Reason #10: I was born to write.

And every day that I don’t write is a day I snub my raison d’être, along with my favorite girls.

I’m coming to terms with the fact that I must generate an income while laying the groundwork for my dreams. I’m kind of okay with it, as long as I can figure out the magic formula for balancing work, writing, exercise, sleep, relationships, relaxation, other free time, etc. That’s the piece I struggle with. Any ideas? I guess I should ask, What would Anna and Frankie do (WWAFD)?

In the meantime, I should try to sleep. It’s after midnight and I have to be in at 8 tomorrow for the aforementioned 5-hour, hammering-it-out lockdown. I’ll be sure to reconnect and give you a full and complete addressment of the situation next week.

5 thoughts on “10 Reasons I’d Rather Be Writing

  1. I guess I should have been a writer too! I am getting really bad.. I go to bed now between 6 and 7 am and drag my ass back out of bed arournd 3 or 4 pm! Who the hell ever invented “DAY”? 10pm I awaken like I just slept a full invigorating 8-10 hours!!! rarring to go..while the rest of the world is ready to “Hit the Hay” My latest endevor keeps me really busy..and going all nite…E-Baying.. LOOK OUT! what ever isn’t standing still or nailed down..LOOK OUT!!!!!! you’re GONE!!!!! So Sarah while you do your late nite writing I’ll do my late nite E-Baying..and we’ll chat!! love ya

  2. I liked your reasons for writing. I have a few of my own.

    1. Murder- Lets face it. We’ve all thought about it. Maybe not the brutal slasher murders, but haven’t you ever wanted to “eliminate” someone. Writers get to illiminate people all the time.

    2. total control I have okay classroom control, but yesterday my reading group turned into the land of lost fart jokes. I do love a good fart joke. However nine year olds feel the need to tell the same fart joke over and over.

    3. And finally the computer is always open. the dream of my own schedule is just too cool. Perhaps I should keep these dreams in mind and seriously start writing again. I must be forced to write again after I have been cleared by my Dr. NErd

  3. Uhm yeahhh, about that… what did you say Dr. Nerd’s phone number is? As your self-proclaimed writing procrastination partner, I think I need to consult with him and hurry him along.

  4. Ok – I know I’ve been away from posting here in a while — I almost feel like the ghost of mischief management when she doesn’t write anything new… But — I felt compelled to add a few comments to your reasoning:

    #1: Why are some people pre-disposed to being night owls? Something I’ve never understood. Let me go to bed at 9PM and be up by 4AM and I’m happy as can be. I can get more done between 4AM-8AM than most people can all day. Pretty much any time after 2PM and I’m useless expect to bbq a steak, play with the kids (tired as I may be) or mix a good martini (ok – that’s a 24 hour a day skill)

    #2: Working for the kind of company that makes up phrases that would put those to shame, all I can say is “no comment.” Well, maybe we can reconnect over IM on this topic later.

    #3: No one, and especially not Mr. Bims, is giving me a foot rub right now. In fact, I’m sitting in the Delta Crown Room at LAX and they actually had an announcement that said (and I kid you not): “For health reasons, you may not remove your shoes in the lounge.” Puh-lease! For health reasons? Is a smelly foot a health reason? I’ve honestly never heard such an announcement yet it came over the loudspeaker here.

    #4: Anytime is a good time to drink . In fact, this is my 4th glass of wine this evening, and then there was the 2 glasses I had at the superbowl party. Pretty much morning, noon and night – as long as it helps and doesn’t kill you — I say WTF. Live a little. People who don’t drink before noon really don’t know what they are missing. Same thing applies to people who don’t drink until 3 or 4AM.

    #5: In my case, I just have to make sure I’m off the corporate network. Don’t want anyone knowing what I read/view/entertain myself with. Except the NSA, CIA and other various assorted secret agencies who clearly know it all anyhow. Can’t avoid them.

    #6: I have no idea what sunsets outside your balcony look like. But I can tell you what sunsets in all of the 50 states look like and countless countries around the world. Nothing like watching the sunset from the Felix restaurant in the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong. That’s a great site.

    #7: Afternoon naps rule. Any day of the week (and especially on Sundays).

    #8: Who sleeps in PJ’s?

    #9: Ok. Lying is no mandatory, but, maybe, um, stretching the facts to fit the story you want to tell? “Yes, we found definite proof that there might be some yellow cake uranium in Nigeria that Saddam Hussein might have wanted to buy in 1984” or “Iran might be helping cause the unrest in Iraq, but we’re not sure” or “I didn’t have sexual relations with that intern in a blue dress”…

    #10: I’m not sure I was born to do. So far I’ve eliminated a lot of things. Professional bowler, westler, jockey, hockey player, baseball player, football player, basketball player, golfer, actor, doctor, lawyer…”

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