Let’s Talk About Time

I’m running the risk of sounding whiny by broaching the topic of my lack of time again, but it has been eating at me all day. I had nothing on my schedule today but an appointment for a haircut at 1PM. Everything else was optional but for finding some time to go to the gym, buying cat food and getting over to the bookmobile at 7Pm. And yet somehow, my day completely slid away from me to the point where even though I did get quite a bit accomplished – for example: the laundry is near done; the kitchen is clean; I made a crock pot of homemade chicken veggie soup and a wholesome lunch and supper for husband and child; I got over to Sherwood Park to the pet store for food, the Starbucks to replenish tea supplies and hit the grocery store – whew! Right? But, I still feel like I got so very little done. Here it is nearly 7:30 in the evening and I am only just getting to my blog, and I haven’t touched my novel more than a handful of times since last Friday between traveling, helping Rob’s mom and child-minding. Valuable things all too. Don’t get me wrong. And perhaps I am just insanely selfish. Do I really need to work-out for an hour and a half every day? Do I need to blog daily? Is the novel something that has to be done by the end of the month, so I can spend December editing?

Sadly, I still have the widow tendency to putz around and waste time. However, is reading the newspaper daily(okay, two newspapers) a waste of time? Am I wasting time reading and responding to others’ blogs? When I choose to write this blog instead of going to writing group, is that being as productive as I could be?

Rob says it’s a matter of prioritizing, but the trouble is that what is most important seems to vary from week to week. Last week my deep water exercise class went by the wayside because Rob was working on finishing the roof – which is a matter of some urgency with winter basically upon us here in Alberta. Tonight both water aerobics and writing group bit the dust because I needed to write. I just needed to and I can’t explain the importance of this need any more clearly than it is like an athlete who misses too many training days in a row due to an injury. After a certain point your body just cries out to move and sweat and be allowed to do that which it was trained to do. The same is true of writing. My mind just screams to be unleashed on the keyboard. I need to write almost like I am beginning to really need to run and lift weights. I don’t feel like myself otherwise, and it has been so long since I have felt like me that I am afraid to take even the tiniest break lest I fall back into the dark times when writing and movement were luxuries.

I don’t know. The scheduling thing is still eluding me, and I can rationalize that there are more important things that come up because that is the nature of life, but the truth is much simpler. I am still not using my time wisely. I still surf the net aimlessly when I can’t string words together instead of using that “think time” to do something productive. In the old days when I wasn’t writing, I was reading. Really reading. Novels. I sadly don’t have the attention span for that yet, but the Internet is hardly the place to pump mental iron. And I could be getting up earlier. I have shamelessly luxuriated in my timelessness these last months. I don’t wear a watch or set an alarm clock at bed, but those days need to end mostly.

I know there are probably many writers who dink about and write here and there, but I don’t think many of them are published much less successful. To be good requires commitment and discipline and probably sacrifice. And, I just cannot do all the things I would like to do and still spend time with Rob and Katy, and whatever my aspirations, they come first.

I guess it is back to the drawing board for a little more scheduling and organizational fine tuning, remembering always that they are just details.

One thought on “Let’s Talk About Time

  1. Have you read Stephen King’s book On Writing? He has some excellent advice on setting goals and disciplining yourself to write daily. Not that I always follow it — I have a manuscript that’s been languishing at 20,000 words since what feels like the beginning of time — but when I do follow it, it works.

    BTW, I always feel as if I haven’t accomplished anything at the end of the day either, but when I actually list out all the things I did, it’s never as bad as I think it is. Granted, most of it is the sort of work that’s required to beat back entropy for another day, and I know I’ll just have to do it all over again tomorrow, but at least it’s something!

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