Released, Bothered, and Bewildered

I think all of us can relate to a nutso daily schedule. Take mine, please!  Sorry, Rodney, but that’s how I feel most often. I’m up at 5AM to deal with my cats, then at my day job by 6 AM. I picked the schedule because it used to get me out of the office by 2 PM. No more. The day job has morphed into a twelve hour day – 6AM to 6PM. Then there’s hubby to cook for, dinner to eat, and family time to spend.

Do I love my day job? Uh, no. But it’s a handy thing to have. So, when do I write? Usually from 8 to 11, or midnight if I’m really on a roll! How does that figure in to the topic of release. Easy. Writing is what I love to do. It’s a passion. I do not consider myself a hobbiest, with three books out and a fourth on the way, plus numerous short stories published the word hobby does not come to mind. Instead, I tell people I have two jobs. Three if you count the family, and they seem to think they count! I am a writer (that always comes first) and a paralegal. Since my husband supports my writing addiction, it’s okay with him if I don’t mention that job. As long as I feed the cats!

My day job is high stress. It’s not only the hours, but the situations. I’m a probate paralegal. I do probate litigation, and taxes, and guardianships, and estates. It often exposes me to the pain families’ feel, both at the death of a loved one, and when they feel cheated by the decisions that person made in life. Same with guardianships. The emotional tension mounts high. The potential Ward fighting against the safeguards the family (and Court) want to put in place, and the families who take both sides of the situation. Nothing is easy when families turn against one and other and face each other in Court. That is truly a no-win situation. And the stress mounts from there. Both probate and guardianship matters are deadline driven. Miss a deadline, and you could lose something for your client. No stress there, huh.

What’s the release? Those few golden hours I spend at my keyboard pounding out stories. Sometimes drawn from life. I must admit. Other times made up of whole cloth. Each a release from the stress and strains of the day. Each an escape. Each an exercise in passion. Why do I write? That’s like asking me why I breathe. I have to. It’s a requirement.

What about you? Do you have a passion that you pursue. One so necessary that you need it more than breathing itself?

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Author: kaitcarson

I write mysteries set in South Florida. The Hayden Kent series is set in the Florida Keys. Hayden is a SCUBA diving paralegal who keeps finding bodies. Underwater, no one can hear you scream! Catherine Swope is a Miami Realtor with a penchant for finding bodies in the darndest places. I live in an airpark in Fort Denaud, FL with my husband, six cats and three birds. And oh yes, a Piper Cherokee 6 in the hangar!

18 thoughts on “Released, Bothered, and Bewildered”

  1. I used to have a high stress job. Ironically, it was before I started writing regularly – and eventually it made me so unhappy I got fired. Maybe if I’d been writing at the time I could have saved myself. But I’m much happier now.

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  2. That’s great Mary. Do you write full time now? Sometimes I will sit and let the day bleed out into my writing. Not too often, I know I can’t us it, but just to put a creative spin on everything.

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  3. The daily grind can be demoralizing and pursuing a passion goes a long way toward keeping one sane! I’ve just emerged from a situation where I couldn’t pursue my passions; writing and riding. The arthritis in my hip eventually made sitting in a chair extremely painful. As for riding, well, even if I could get on my horse I knew I couldn’t be an effective rider because of the limitations in movement. And those were the good days. Pain medication helped, but robbed me of creativity for writing and, well, I still couldn’t ride. Pain meds don’t make you move normally!

    The solution was to depend on things that were “ancillary” to my passions. I found that when on pain meds I might not be able to write, but I actually could edit (different part of the brain), and while I couldn’t ride, I could take my body out of the equation and still use my mind to teach riding. Makes sense. Both editing and teaching require the problem solving part of your brain. Now, post surgery and with most of my recovery behind me, I can ease back into the heart of both passions, for which I am extremely grateful. Back to the “full meal deal”!!

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  4. I’m with you, Kait. Writing is like breathing. I gave up my day job (which I loved) to write full time. Now I’ve discovered a new passion–painting. I can truly say it’s a hobby, so I have to be careful not to get carried away with time spent on it if I’m going to meet my writing deadlines.

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  5. Kait, great post. I’m always exhausted at night, so I admire that you can come home from what sounds like a draining job and put in three or four hours right away!

    (Susan, I’m glad that you can go back to both! Happy ending, though I’m sorry you had to go through all that.)

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  6. Joanna Russ warned us in a graduate writing class at the University of Washington to be careful not to have a job that used up our writing energy. She said sometimes it’s better to be a waitress than an editor. My acupuncturist friend calls this chi. She says, I’ve used all my talking chi today. Unfortunately, I didn’t take her advice. I was fired from my one waitressing job. You are definitely overcommitted. Do you ever watch TV?

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  7. I’m a lawyer. Writing is therapy, a way of processing what I’ve seen. I work alone so I do all the client contact, all the writing and all the court appearances. Couldn’t do probate, that takes a special person.

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  8. @Susan, I am so glad that you found a way to work around the limitations and pursue your passions. That is true creativity. Glad too that you are back on your feet, and on horseback too! I can attest to your editing skills. You are amazing.

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  9. @Sue, that is fantastic. I often fantasize about ditching the day job and writing full time, but I have always pulled back because i am not good with time on my hands. Love that you have found a new hobby and that it resolves the issue. Bet you are bringing just as much creativity and passion to your painting as you do to your writing.

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  10. @Cynthia, well, there is a caveat, I do work from home except for my monthly three days in Miami. For me, it’s a matter of crossing the room from my legal desk to my writing desk. I have two of everything in this office for that reason. It helps since, don’t tell the day job, if I’m at the law office and I get a great idea for a scene or solve a plot problem, I can race to my writing desk and scribble it down in my writing notebook.

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  11. @Theresa – well, we don’t have TV. Seriously. With us it’s Netflix or nothing! I do feel over-committed sometimes, and overwhelmed, but on the other hand, it seems to feed the creativity. Alas, I too was unable to hold a waitressing job. Too bad, really. Great character fodder in restaurants. Love the chi concept. I have to look into that.

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  12. @Keenan – had no idea you were a lawyer. It has to be draining to be a sole practitioner! Do you use your experiences in your stories or is the processing more of a personal nature? Lots of good story fodder for mystery writers in the legal world. Even in the most unexpected practice areas.

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  13. While my job isn’t remotely as emotionally draining as yours sounds, I definitely can relate to the commitment the day job can be. Like the others, I’m so impressed that you work days like that, and still write. I’m struggling to find the creative energy after a day in the office (educational assessment; yep, those standardized tests everyone loves so much). But, I think I will have more energy once I pry the writing back into the schedule, because it feeds an entirely different and critical part of me. Thanks for sharing!

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  14. A friend of mine who was totally overwhelmed – working, just gave birth to twins, her father died, just crazy crazy busy – and her therapist told her that writing was her medicine. Since she gave birth she’s written a 90K page novel. Writing IS our medicine. It helps with everything else. And kudos to you – so tough to have energy after emotionally draining days. And you’re right – we need to own it – and call it what it is – a job. Not a hobby.

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  15. @Pamela – sounds like your job is more draining than mine! Actually, I did love standardized tests. Don’t know why. Looked forward to them. The schedule is the secret, me thinks. When I was trying to write on a catch as catch can basis, I never found time. Always too tired. Then I got stern with myself and reminded myself that the writing is both pleasure and job. Once I put it on the schedule, and gave myself permission for the odd day off, it became far more pleasurable. I had a way to structure my days and evenings and I found I relished my keyboard time.

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  16. @Kristi – first, kudos, congratulations, and sympathy to your friend. The emotional double whammy had to be so incredibly difficult. Writing as medicine. Yes, it is. And there is a theory that the life stress gives tension to the writing. Hopefully, that’s true.

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  17. I love your title for this article, and I was immediately drawn to it… since it expresses what I’m going through too. Giving a fellow author a five! 🙂

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