I generally like the work I do and really really like my coworkers, but a 9-5 desk job doesn't exactly lend itself well to flexibility. While in college, I had between 15-18 hours in class each week, depending on the semester. I was an English writing major, so outside of class I probably spent 15-20 hours each week writing papers or studying. Oh, and I also held a few internships, and they were usually 15 hours of work per week during the school year (summers were a different story).
All told, I had less free time in college than I do now, and certainly less money. But I had much more flexibility in terms of where the work could be done and when the hours could be spent. Writing a 30 page paper? Yes, that really happened my senior year. But I could write it sitting at the library, at my kitchen table, at Kyle's old house on his old computer starting at 2 AM (that really happened too, another paper and another year). And then I could take a nap at 2 PM after the paper was turned in and before I had to begin studying for an exam. Oh, and the nap could even be on the lawn outside of Soldiers and Sailors. In a bikini. On a beach towel. Sure, I was tired all the time. And very, very poor. But hey, I was happy and tan!
The reality is that I want to write a book now - in fact, I've already "started" in a sense - but I am not one for burning the midnight oil except while on deadline, so I miss the more open schedule I had in a former life. I can't give myself an arbitrary deadline to finish the book (though I should, considering how my thank-you notes lingered). I've set up what I consider a good premise, I've conducted preliminary research to make the premise plausible, I'm halfway through Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake Method to flesh out my storyline and characters before I get down to brass tacks, and I've even taken a stab at my opening sentence (that tricky beast).
The book requires research because it has some basis in fact/history, but it's fiction. And I'm aiming for a spine-tingler. Nothing scary, just a little bit of magic. I'm super excited about it. Just apparently not excited enough to stay up late at night or wake up early in the morning to start the physical act of typing out the story.
My dad jokingly calls his lovingly crafted and exceedingly lengthy emails "the greatest stories ever told," and while I'm not suffering from the delusion that I can craft one of those (his emails are quite extraordinary), I think I'm paralyzing myself trying to put together a fantastic first draft in my head rather than just sitting down and banging out a few chapters each weekend, knowing that they will be
Most of my favorite ideas for the book pounce on me at work, when I'm not thinking about the story at all. I scribble them down or type them out haphazardly, but I can't flesh them out the way I want to or start free-writing to see where the idea takes me because, you know, I am at work and have about fifty other projects going on that I'm being paid to complete.
Oh well. Perhaps one day you'll see my name in print. Twenty years from now, when my one-sentence a day rule has finally paid off.