Since I’m going to be posting blogs regularly, I thought there were some things you should know about me.
Although writing is my passion, it’s not what pays my bills (yet). I have fifteen years experience working as a trademark paralegal. In a nutshell, I assist in the clearance, prosecution, maintenance and protection of trademarks. The work is interesting, my colleagues are great, especially my boss, and I get along well with my clients.
I’m physically and emotionally addicted to exercise. I don’t mean I need to run marathons or do triathlons, but I need regular cardio-vascular activity to feel good about myself. If I skip more than one day in a row, I am noticeably stressed out and I feel out of sorts, not to mention, fat. I know skipping days here and there won’t make me fat but I worry that “days here and there” will turn into weeks which will turn into months until I lose all desire/work-ethic for exercise. As a result, I try to go to the gym six days a week, always in the mornings except for Saturdays when I need to sleep late. Which leads to another fun fact about me – I require a lot of sleep.
When I was a baby, my mother never had trouble putting me down to a take a nap. In fact, she told me she had more trouble waking me up! I’ve always loved to sleep and I require a lot of it to function well. Between going to the gym in the mornings, working full days of work and often having plans at night, I’m exhausted by the weekend. Even though I usually go out on Friday nights, I always look forward to sleeping in on Saturdays to recover from the work week. I, obviously, make exceptions but my friends know that I am very slow moving on Saturdays and try to avoid plans that require me to be showered and ready to go earlier than dinner time. Which smoothly segues into another aspect of my life – my social life.
I love my friends and I have many of them. I like going out to restaurants, bars, movies etc. and just spending time with my friends in general. I’m dating someone and I like spending time with him too. I organize a book-club that meets once a month. I am a loyal fan of the New Year Yankees and from April to (if all goes well) October and early November, I am all about watching baseball. (Pitchers and catchers report on 2/14!!!) I love television, most notably Criminal Minds, Parenthood and How I Met Your Mother. But, despite being social, I also require downtime. And I don’t mean downtime as in chilling with friends watching television. Downtime, by my definition, is being alone and not expending significant energy on anything. That could mean watching television, reading or stalking people on Facebook. But it cannot be strenuous or too intellectually stimulating and it cannot involve another person.
What I am getting at in a very long, round-about way is that, like most people, I have a lot going on and it is a challenge to find the time to write. Besides the above, there are things that just need to get done, like making sure I have food and toiletries in my apartment, doing laundry, paying my bills, keeping up with doctor’s appointments, cleaning my apartment etc. And all of these things need to get done when I’m not working, writing, sleeping, exercising, eating or drinking. I am in no way suggesting that my life is busier than everyone else’s. I’m not the only person with a job, outside interests, friends and responsibilities. And I can’t even imagine throwing children into the mix right now. But even living alone, it’s not easy balancing work, exercise, sleep, leisure, downtime and general errands with writing a book! But since none of the aforementioned aspects of my life are what I consider optional, I don’t have a choice.
I don’t like to live my life like clockwork and so I try to maintain an open-mind and allow for some spontaneity, but I also have routines I need to follow. For example, going to the gym before work helps me tons, simply because it’s not competing with anything else besides sleeping. And while I sometimes (read: often) cry when my alarm goes off, it’s not like I’d be able to sleep much longer even if I didn’t go to the gym since I work regular hours. And going to the gym early keeps my evenings open for other things. Things that include, for me, working late if necessary, socializing, running errands, writing or doing nothing. If I’m not careful, this can lead to five nights of socializing which results in no writing, downtime or time to stop by Duane Reade for toilet paper and conditioner. Or if I’m feeling lazy, it could lead to curling up on my couch watching television every night at the expense of writing and my social life. But I do a pretty decent job of living outside of the extremes. For instance, I almost never schedule social plans for every night in a given work week. At least one night a week, I schedule a date with myself. And since I currently have a weekly Wednesday writer’s group, this ensures that I will spend at least one evening a week working on my book. I’m also pretty good at multitasking. For example, when riding or waiting for the subway on my way to watch football with my friends on Sunday, I’ll write my book. I also try to write during the inevitable wait at the doctor’s office, cafeteria line, or ATM machine. I’ve actually written the majority of my second novel this way.
For those of you who ask when my next book will be finished (and I’m glad some of you want to know), the answer is “not as soon as I’d like”! Without creative scheduling and multitasking, I’d never have been able to complete one, much less almost two novels. I suppose if I liked pulling all-nighters or getting up before dawn to write, it would be a quicker process. And I’d probably be further in the process if, in favor of writing, I let my friendships/romantic endeavors suffer, gave up exercising, stopped bathing and general hygiene maintenance, quit my day job and stopped paying my bills. The last two would probably go hand in hand and if I stopped bathing, I’d probably lose my job and my friends anyway. Thanks to multitasking and routines, however, no one has to suffer with a jobless, homeless, smelly, fat Meredith. You just have to wait a bit longer for Book No. 2. 🙂