On being self employed

Hi everyone,
David speaking, 1-16-14
It doesn’t happen often, but it did yesterday. I knew when I went to bed the night before that I had no deadlines looming and nothing that screamed priority to attend to.

When I woke up at 6:00, I didn’t get up right away as I usually do. It took me fifteen minutes to leave those warm covers and get my feet on the floor. I came in here a few minutes later, sat down and sipped my coffee, and nothing happened.

It was dark out. Sandy was still in bed though probably awake. My getting up usually rouses her and she has trouble getting back to sleep.

I sat here, trying to sort out the various possibilities, decided on a couple and, instead of getting to work, fiddled with e-mail, browsed the Net, and let my coffee get cold.

Some mornings it’s hard to be the sole proprietor of a small business. I’ve been someone’s boss since my first promotion when I was 23. But being my own boss is the toughest challenge I’ve ever had.

I like to tell people that after all these years I can hardly wait to get started each morning. And that’s mostly the truth. It just wasn’t the truth yesterday morning. What was true, as it always is, is that if I had rolled back over in bed, not one soul would have known or cared other than I. If I had not written one word all day, no one would have cared about that either.

Jane Yolen, I loved your rant about finding time to make writing happen. These days I have it made and know it. I worked a lifetime to reach a point where I can write (almost) as much as I want. I no longer have to make the time to write. I now have an abundance of it.

But the second part of the equation is motivation. Or drive. Or dedication. Or passion. Call it what you will. It’s that essential ingredient that fires the need to put pen to paper and leave it there until something happens.

I never left my office yesterday. I didn’t sneak out early. I gave my boss no excuses. But I was not a driven employee. I got some things done but gave myself a C for the day. Too many grades like that and any small business will eventually dry up.

I don’t plan to let that happen. Today I will do better!



20 comments on “On being self employed

  1. The problem for me is not the writing but allowing myself the time to stop and breathe in the world. My David was my interrupter, taking me by the hand and forcing me to go on vacations. (Like Sandy does for you.)


    • So you had a M.O.H. like my M.O.W. I grant that we need to surface now and then to breathe and look around. Finding a workable balance can be tricky though.

  2. I know what you mean about motivation…running one’s own business definitely has its own challenges. But we all “call out sick” sometimes, no matter how good an employee we are – so you’re not alone in that respect. Just don’t let it happen again, or your boss might dock your pay.

  3. I can relate to what you shared David, since my husband passed away I have been taking time off. Jane, you are right, we can take time off, but we have to finish the race doing what we love to do. I am back and going forward into the creative world I love, if only for my own enjoyment.

    • Good morning, dear Mary Nida. I know that you still feel a keen sense of loss so I’m doubly glad that you are rediscovering your creative world. It’s a wonderful place to go heal.

  4. Here I am a fly on the wall…and knowing that nurturing my relationships fires my passion for creating! A feather to each of you to put in that cap, and a pied piper whistle to lead your followers over the next bridge….onward…upward

  5. Don’t forget that it’s Drop Everything And Read Day – what better way to celebrate Ms. Beverly Cleary’s 100th birthday?

    • Thank you, Teresa. Much appreciated. You realize that while I’ve been responding to your kind note, Jane has probably finished a poem, started another, answered ten e-mails, and added a chapter to a novel.

  6. Thank you for sharing this. It makes me think about when I retire in two years. I worry that complacency might sink in. It’s why I will most likely sub for awhile.

  7. Dear David,
    I find when I feel unmotivated it is time for an artist’s date. The routine must occasionally be broken in order to be inspired with new ideas. I was just thinking of asking if you used the time to order Sandy’s Mother’s Day gift and thought about a child trying to find the perfect gift for Mom and coming up with all sorts of humorous mistakes. Thanks for the inspiration. I’m off to work. Luv ya, miss ya.

    • Good morning, Joy!
      You are always have good ideas. And you’re so right about the need to give the muse a little vacation now and then. I’m almost always rewarded when I do. Love you, miss you back.

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