Job description: Multitasking Menace – RF Long

1 Mar

Like many many writers, I don’t actually write as a full time job. Oh, no. I do many many other things.

Therefore I am


Let’s see, where to begin. (If I start to laugh hysterically at any point just bear with me. I’ll stop eventually to suck my thumb instead.)
I’m a mother of two, aged 8 and 5. They are bright, active, loving, excitable little people – imagine Taz.
I’m a specialist librarian and cataloguer, working fulltime in an academic research library of rare and modern books. – imagine a serene Name of the Rose type labyrinth of shelves.
I’m a wife to a wonderful man without whom nothing in my life would actually function. Though he is trying to learn, I do most of the cooking. He admittedly does most of everything else. And works full time as well. (He’s my hero. No, really!) – imagine getting that freaking lucky!
Oh, and I write.
I’ve two novels published and two novellas. I’ve at present one book with my wonderful agent Colleen Lindsay, two in various stages of edits, and one WIP. Yes, for once in my life ONLY one WIP. That has come as something of a shock. Which probably means my mind will want to spawn another one pretty much immediately.
Obviously things get pretty hairy sometimes. On a typical morning we’re up by seven (kinda), we’re out the door between 8 and 8.30 and I work until 5. Things are generally very quiet and peaceful in my library. *sigh* Then I collect the kids, go home, make their supper and catch up with my email and online stuff while juggling the variations on “Can I have a–” (Kin-Iva), “He started it”, “it’s broken” along with assorted nosebleeds. Hubs comes home and helps me put them to bed.
Do you see the HUGE amount of writing I’ve got done so far in a typical day.
Some evenings I go to the gym. Not as many as I should.
Otherwise I cook dinner and then wedge myself in the corner of the sofa between the laptop and the cat. Oh yes, of course I have a cat. He thinks he’s a dog.
And I write. I write in noise, in front of the tv, in an A4 notebook, on the laptop, in bed – whatever works. I learned when the kids were tiny that if I wanted to write I would have to make writing time. In the midst of chaos, of course. Writers write. And I can definitely prove that if you want to, anyone can find writing time. I carry a notebook (at least 1 actually) at all times. I’ve sent myself text messages with bits of dialogue in them (pen went missing). The secret is, my brain is ALWAYS writing.
My horror is having that one perfect line come when there is no way I can jot it down and then I forget it. What I tell myself is if I’m able to forget it, it wasn’t actually the one perfect line. But I don’t necessarily believe myself. 🙂
I believe in a combination of the muse and hard work. Inspiration does strike – usually somewhere useful like the shower or while driving on the motorway – but it will never ever be more than a fab idea until it gets written down, incorporated, amended, adjusted and generally beaten up by my characters who always have their own ideas about how things should be going.
So that’s it. Writing has to fit into a busy life, to flow around the rocks in the river, but at the end of the day, there are always ways to make time for it. It’s my job (one of my jobs) but its also my hobby and I love it.

10 Responses to “Job description: Multitasking Menace – RF Long”

  1. Jeannie Lin March 1, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

    My hat goes off to authors who also have to juggle a full household with children and pets! Absolutely amazing what you do. At the same time, I can see the need to escape to wonderful fantasy worlds like the ones your create with all that bustle about.

  2. melsmag March 1, 2010 at 2:17 pm #

    I’m always in awe with how much writers with children get done. Especially young children.

    You said: The secret is, my brain is ALWAYS writing.

    I love this and really do think that it’s true. The writer’s brain has to constantly be writing or plotting (ack, I said the dreaded P word). Even in sleep.

    You said: My horror is having that one perfect line come when there is no way I can jot it down and then I forget it. What I tell myself is if I’m able to forget it, it wasn’t actually the one perfect line.

    I”ve done this so many times! ANd it’s worse when a full scene disappears. I may tell myself that the new scene will be better for it but do I believe it? Er… that’s hard.

  3. briaq March 1, 2010 at 2:44 pm #

    I feel like such a slacker when there’s a mom around…. I need to cut all of the mother’s out of my life – they’re too amazing.

  4. Tami March 1, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

    I, too, admire those with children who find (no, slash that) MAKE time to write.

    As a writer with a supportive husband myself, I love to hear other stories of writers who make it work, and who don’t rely on happenstance and “the right moment”.

    My favorite line > “I believe in a combination of the muse and hard work. “

  5. Felicia Holt March 1, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

    This reminds me of the moment I realized that my “but I don’t have time!” was nothing but a poor excuse: I saw Toni Morrison on some TV show and she talked about how she used to write everywhere, all the time, and once when the baby on her lap threw up on the paper, she simply wrote around it.
    Gross, yes, but an eye opener to me…
    Like the others said, I’m awed (and inspired) by people who juggle so much and still find time to write!

  6. Katrina March 1, 2010 at 8:22 pm #

    WOW – yes, I’ll agree, you’re amazing. I just have the kids, no full time job, and I still struggle to find time. And energy. And motivation. Good luck with the one wip! I’m sure it won’t be lonely long.

  7. briaq March 2, 2010 at 12:26 am #

    You know, i dont’ like that Toni Morrison baby story — if you have a baby throwing up, Dear Toni: the baby is more important.

    *gets off high horse standing on soap box*

  8. RFLong March 2, 2010 at 4:53 am #

    Hi everyone,

    just to say thanks for reading and commenting.

    No, the wip was not lonely for long. I started editing an older one to keep it company. 🙂


  9. Terri-Lynne March 2, 2010 at 8:24 am #

    Schedules like yours make me appreciate the time I do have to dedicate to writing even more.

    Keep up the good fight, lovey! (Imagine the sparkles, because they don’t work here.)

  10. Amanda March 2, 2010 at 9:47 am #

    LOL, no wonder you’re so mean to your characters. I’m all about the notebook carrying method. Rock on.

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