Sunday I got paid to go to a party.
Yesterday I got paid to “show the reporter a good time” (which, sadly, is not as filthy as it sounds) with sightseeing and excellent food.
Today I’m getting paid to do a snowshoe tour in the morning and a beer tasting tour in the afternoon.
There are many things I love about my day job. Managing PR and marketing for the tourism bureau of a city I’m damn glad to live in definitely does not suck.
But it can also be exhausting for someone with a limited capacity for human interaction. People who meet me but don’t know me well are often surprised to learn I’m an introvert. I’m gregarious and high-energy when I need to be, so I’m easily mistaken for an extrovert.
In reality, my true nature runs a little closer to hunkering down with a good book and a glass of wine and snarling at approaching strangers.
Like most authors, I’ve fantasized about being a full-time, stay-at-home writer. I got to try the lifestyle on for size last winter when my former employer laid me off several weeks before my agent landed me this three-book deal. I spent ten months just focusing on the author thing, and you know what?
I was kind of a boring person.
Don’t get me wrong, the arrangement had its perks. There’s a lot to like about wearing yoga pants all day and scratching yourself whenever the urge strikes.
But I found I didn’t manage my time as well as I did when I was working another job. In fact, I was a much slower writer without a day job to force me to budget my time wisely.
Time management aside, there’s something to be said for the way human interaction and new experience can stimulate a writer’s brain. I can sit here at my computer alone all day and struggle to come up with one good idea, but send me out into the world with strangers and deadlines and a mile-long task list, and suddenly I’m brimming with them.
It’s taken awhile for me to reach a point in life where I know precisely how much outside stimulation I need.
(Go ahead, snicker. I’ll wait).
It’s a balance everyone needs to figure out, but I think it’s especially important for writers whose creativity can be ignited or snuffed based on what’s happening around them. For me, working part-time and writing the rest of the time feels just about perfect.
It also helps to have job that sometimes feels like I should be paying them to let me do it.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How does that impact your creativity? How much outside stimulation do you require? How many times can I use the word “stimulation” in a blog post without it being sexual?