There’s a great scene in the movie “(500) Days of Summer” where they show two versions of the same scene side-by-side. On the left is what the male lead thinks will happen (“Expectations”), and on the right is what actually happens (“Reality”). And of course, reality doesn’t come close to matching his expectations.
When I started this blog, I too had expectations (or more accurately, “delusions”) of how it would all pan out. After a successful day’s freelancing (even if only during my lunch break at the regular job) I’d come home and spend some quality time with my wife and son. After dinner, we’d bath our son (more quality time together), give him his final bottle and put him to bed. We might watch some television together, or just have a quiet chat.
And then I’d come here to write another blog post.
It could be about anything—a report on how the day went, or maybe just something on my mind that I want to talk about. But whatever the topic, it would be my chance to relax and unwind. It would be my dessert, or maybe that final drink before bed.
Unfortunately the reality hasn’t come anywhere near my expectations.
Thanks to various pressing deadlines (not to mention lunchtime meetings), I’ve been lucky if I get to eat lunch, let alone work on my freelancing. By the time we’ve had dinner, bathed our son and put him to bed, it’s close to nine o’clock. By the time I finish the blog it’s well after ten, and then I go to bed and crash until the alarm goes off at five-thirty the following morning.
(On weekends we switch off the alarm, and get woken up by our son instead. But it’s still around the same time.)
And so, despite promising myself this would be the year I’d become a freelancer (if only part-time to begin with), the whole thing has pretty much stalled.
And now I’m trying to find the time to get it going again.
So what are my options? Well, one option would be to stop blogging, or at least slow down the posting a bit (I’d still like dessert every once in a while). That would give me an extra few hours a week. How productive I’d be is another story, because by the time I sit in front of the keyboard I’m already falling asleep (as some of you have probably worked out by now).
Another option is to try and find more time during my day. I spend 40 minutes on trains each day, and providing I can get a seat I could at least draft some notes, or even do a bit of research. (If I tried doing either of these while standing up I’d end up hurting someone.)
Daylight Savings finishes soon, which should put an end to the lunchtime meetings. (It only happens because we’re an hour behind our head office.) If I ignore my email, switch my phone to voicemail, ignore my instant messages and wear my noise-cancelling headphones, I can probably get another hour a day.
I have some long service leave up my sleeve, and so if I really wanted to (and my bosses gave me the go-ahead) I could take a fortnight or so off to work on the freelancing stuff. But I don’t think now is a good time to do something like that. I’m still very green, and so I’d waste a lot of the time fumbling my way around. I’d much rather wait until I know what I’m going so I can make the most of the time I have.
I could take another day off each fortnight, making it a four-day week. It sounds fantastic, but I’d have to take a serious look at our finances (and try not to laugh too hard) before I could do something like that.
Of course, the ideal solution would be to give up the regular job and just write all day instead. But while poverty might be worth considering when you’re young and single, it isn’t really option when you’ve got a family and a mortgage.
Sorry if it seems like you’ve just caught me thinking out loud. But this is what’s been on my mind lately, especially with the regular job heading in a direction I don’t particularly want to go. This is my escape plan, and by the looks of things I’ll need it sooner rather than later.