What counts as work? I’ve been struggling with this for a while now. I tend to avoid doing the school work/class prep in favor of writing. But, when I sit down to write I find myself doing a host of other things. However, it may not be all wasted time and procrastination. I read something the other day (yes, this will count as work, you’ll see) that mentioned that even reading something counted as work because if you discover, while reading, a good or bad way to write dialog or a scene, then you’ve accomplished something. Or, reading history allows you to better craft your world(s). In my case, I sat down and read a book sent to me by a guy needing beta readers. I learned a lot in my afternoon of reading. I learned more about how to describe a location, how to write a fight scene. I also learned how NOT to write some things. I saw descriptions that became boring. I read conversations that went on just thatmuch too long. I learned more about writing by reading.
OK, so reading counts. What else? Well, the obvious. Outlining a new or the next book or series. I spent some time yesterday looking at notes and was pleasantly surprised at what I’ve put down and reminded that I do have a number of good ideas. Working on covers is another one. Oooh! Covers! Yes, there is the tangible output everybody looks for. If I can show a rough cover to my husband at the end of the day, then I’ve accomplished work. I like messing with covers because it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like playing around. Scrolling through photos, reading about how to change/adapt/use those photos. How to make the text just so. How to figure out which font. Finding just the right font. All of that counts as work.
Switching back to class prep/grading. Yes, this counts as well. It obviously counts for the day job. But, it also counts for the writing/author job. It counts because while I try to do all of it while on campus, that doesn’t always happen. It counts for the writing/author job because I have to get it done. If it’s not done, I cannot work on the writing. Yes, I use the fiction writing and other author work as a reward for finishing the tasks related to committee work, class prep and other things day-jobby. Which reminds me…gotta finish counting general education courses next week (the fun just never stops).
The last thing I count as work is meditation and time spent letting ideas marinate. Meditation helps me lower stress levels (day job brings A LOT of that), and lets ideas float through and around my brain. Even (OK, this is last), writing on this blog counts as work. As I write down my processes, questions, brain waves, frustrations, etc. I find that oftentimes I am able to figure out answers or solutions. This is akin to meditation, but a bit more active. It counts because it moves me forward on the path of my choosing.
If it is in furtherance of the direction I want to head then it counts as work.