Friday, November 21, 2008

Stop the Background Music

My father used to dislike the word “bored.” So, just to be contrary, I had my boyfriend paint a sign that said in huge, mock-typewriter letters, “I am bored.” Today, as I was going on and on about my latest project — a PowerPoint presentation — my sister remarked, “Well, at least you’ll never be bored.” I guess as long as there are new subjects to write and new ways to write about them, she is right. I won’t be.

I fall into bed at night, or rather escape into it, just to stop working. Not that all those words on my computer screen are necessarily work related. Many of them are just busy-ness that pass for work but are really play. If I billed for every hour I sit there, hunched over my keyboard until my muscles scream, I would be a wealthy woman. The question is what do I actually write?

Well, there are e-mails; blog posts; “tweets” and postings to various other social networking sites; responses to comments on my blogs or website; articles for online article sites; other marketing-related “stuff”; replies to requests for information on coaching, editing, and ghostwriting; plans and handouts for teaching; some volunteer efforts; and notes to go with mailing labels for my books. Of course, none of that includes anything to do with my other life (what other life?). If there is time left over, I do actual work.

There is something amiss here. Once upon a time in another life, my husband walked in the front door of our apartment and was bowled over by a blaring stereo. “Bobbi,” he remarked (at the top of his lungs), “don’t you think the background music is a little too loud?” Well, yes, it was, and it is. All the things I spend prime time on (did I mention addictive reading?), added together, comprise the background music of my life. And they are taking a considerable chunk out of my waking hours.

Of course, they are not all a waste of time. One must market, and many of those activities are part of marketing. But many are not. If I can design something, even if it’s totally unnecessary, I’ll spend hours designing it. I will play on Photoshop. I will illustrate things that could well remain un-illustrated. You get the idea.

This begs the question: Why? I’ve been pondering the answer all evening, and I think I have figured it out. If I don’t keep my fingers and mind occupied every single moment, I’m afraid I’ll be bored.

I wonder if I should send this to my sister, who is unlikely to stumble on it if I don’t. But, first I have to proof it; then, I have to find some clip art to illustrate it; then, I have to post it on my blog; then, I have to send it. Whoops!