Lately, I will admit, writing has been hard for me. I’ve kept up with writing every single day, which seems more like a diary day to day. Writing just to write. That isn’t a bad thing, in my opinion. Just because you didn’t have your best mile split or heaviest dead lift or best quiz score doesn’t mean you quit running or the gym or school. You’re still exercising those muscles.
In reality, too, I’ve sold a couple beer articles in the last two weeks and those have been written and are in the process of editing, so nothing is completely lost. But those articles were mindless. They don’t pay that much and I didn’t work too hard to write them.
My favorite part of writing is the research. I love sitting down at the computer for a few hours trying to figure out what comes next and, upon finding it, feeling that certain level of excitement as I click around the internet for resources and additional material. I love the next few days as I send e-mail requests for interviews. These elements of journalism and both unrecognized and necessitate time. I have none of the latter.
Sure, I get an hour or two at nap time, but it comes with the caveat that I have something to do. When nap time comes (never a set time), I try my best to get in front of the computer and do work. But what about when there’s nothing to do? There’s the search for inspiration, for ideas. There’s that. A week goes by. Nothing. Two weeks. Nothing. There’s shit to write about, for sure.
Between two hours a day, tops, at nap time then a part time job that brings me home after 9pm, when does a person write? My wife leaves at 7am. Kids are up by 6am. Could I write from 9:30-midnight? Sure. Show me a parent with enough energy after watching two kids all day then working to come home to more work after work. Then wake up and do it again.I love my kids. I love my family. It’s a strain having them during the day, trying to write, then having my wife come home essentially to a tagging out high five as I walk out the door and she handles the rest.
And we’re still broke. Still struggling to make all ends meet. There’s not much left to cut out of the budget.
I try to take solace in the fact that I’ve had a bit of success — actually, I’ll say I’ve done damn well coming into the journalism game with limited contacts — all while being a stay-at-home dad with two kids. The solace comes when I think about what can be accomplished when they’re out of the house for the day. All of it: writing freedom, more money seem so far away.
For now, though, it’s still a struggle. I see articles that could have had my byline beneath them. I see stories that could have been my beat. It’s the end of the year, a good one professionally, a great one personally, and a terrible one for current events. All of the words have been written. I have no energy to spare right now.
Thanks for reading.