I have a love/hate relationship with Quicken and TurboTax.
I love getting things organized. I hate entering the sheer volume of receipts needed to get things organized.
I’m three-quarters of the way through my four-day weekend, and I’ve managed to reconcile exactly one of the forty statements I need to do — and it’s an easy one, too! Okay, the receipts aren’t the only thing I’ve been doing the last 3 days — just most of what I’ve been doing.
Honestly, I don’t know other how writers keep up with receipts. Maybe they simply don’t buy as much stuff that needs to be tracked. Maybe we buy too much. I don’t know. All I know is that I don’t have enough time to do it all and hold down a day job that supports my family. My writing has slowed to an absolute crawl since … well, since my oldest son hit his teens.
Hmmm. Coincidence? I doubt it.
Sarah and I have had a long-standing argument with a couple of other writers we know who seem to think I’m just not committed enough. Maybe they’re partially right, but then they don’t have children, either. Truth is, I back-seated my writing habits to a large extent in order to ensure that we have a steady paycheck so we have a roof over our heads and food on the table. Is it so wrong to want to maintain a level of security so that Sarah can write full-time?
I understand why so many writers never become successful while they’re actively parenting. (Oh, don’t try to bring up J. K. Rowling — she had multiple sources of government assistance!) Show me a writer who hit the bestseller lists while raising two or more school-aged kids, working at least a 40-hour week for the principle source of family income, and didn’t get any assistance of any kind — money or babysitting (we have no grandparents nearby).
Please! I’m serious here. I need someone to look up to for inspiration.
Kids are a huge time sink. Really, they are. Parenting takes time and energy, y’all — well, active parenting does, I mean. I’m utterly sick of childless writers telling us how they have pets, and they can make time to write 5000 words a day, so what’s the problem?
Yeah, well, we have four cats in the house, too, and two (or maybe four) outside that think we’re their food-givers, and we’ve had at least three cats at any given time for the last nineteen years, so I think I know a little about how much attention pets take versus children.
There ain’t no comparison. Pets are a cakewalk stacked up to kids.
Still, I don’t begrudge my boys for taking up my time. I love writing, but I’d much rather be Dad. I love geek-talking with the boys about computer mods and Neopets, watching Robert elude police on Need For Speed: Underground just days before his first driving lesson, explaining four dimensional theory to Eric, hearing Robert noodle around on the piano (I still haven’t given up on that family garage band I always thought we’d have).
I guess I’m just more committed to my family than to writing. I hope so, because I should be.