If you were to ask my daughters, Daddy is a typist. 

Only, as a business writer, I spend less time than you’d think typing. And when I do type, I type fast. 

By the time I sit down to type, the heavy lifting, or “the work,” if you will, is already done.

So what does working look like to me? 

When I ask questions, I’m working. 

When I make coffee, I’m working. 

When I walk from my car to the restaurant, I’m working. 

When I watch TV, I’m working. No, really—communications is relative. 

When I’m at the park with my dogs, I’m working. 

When I drive my kid to swim practice, I’m working. 

When I cook, I’m working. 

When I work out, I’m working. 

When I’m lying in bed at night about to drift off to sleep, I’m working.

When I’m shopping, I’m working. 

When I clean my office or house, I’m working (harder than ever actually.)

When I’m prospecting, I’m working. Though it’s not the fun kind of work. 

When I lock down the house at night, I’m working. 

When I’m surfing the internet, I’m working. Ok not so much. But also, yes.

When I’m showering, I’m working. 

When I write stuff like this, I’m working. 

When I’m on vacation, I’m working. 

When I’m in meetings, I’m not so much working as helping decide and organize things like when to work. 

A lot of people get off on talking about how many hours per week they work as a way to reinforce their brand of hustle. Good on you if you do. But if I told you that I routinely work 100 hours a week, you’d call bullshit. Only, it’s not. 

When you’re a writer you learn how to glean information, frame problems, and set things aside to marinate. You respect the process of allowing solutions to rise to the surface where you pick them off and beat the shit out of them to see what’s left. You create others in your mind whom you have actual conversations with. You learn how to think about things and recognize breakthroughs. You realize that every interaction you have with real people helps make you a better writer.

And the longer you do this job, the more efficient you become. And of course by efficient I mean faster. 

But you also realize that how you work is unlike almost every other profession in the world. Because it never looks like you’re working. 

Unless you’re typing. 

And even then, everyone can type. (Don’t get me going on the value of the work. Not in this post.)

Jim

The Christmas Miracle

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.

FEEDBACK