“Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland)

Time management

Clock

Writing is a time consuming project. This is no surprise to anyone who does so on a regular basis. At times we struggle. At times we have to do etra work just to get done what needs to get done. Myself, I have sports venues to attend for my children, I work full time usually more than a 40 hour work. It doesn’t include all of the extra little time blocks confiscated by running other various errands. I love to cook so I usually end up cooking dinner, (Another time block taken)

 

As stated I found a group on Facebook that piqued a new chapter in my writing. I had, up until meeting this group, hidden my work and my pieces. I never talked about my work. I recieved looks of concern when I talked so passionately about my Main and Impact Characters. Try discussing Literary Theory with someone and you will lose them at “New Criticism” perspective. In any case, There I am on facebook.

 

So what happens then? I shift towards facebook and start discussing things. I become engrossed in it. I love the group. The group teaches me so much in such a short period. I learn from one poster the difference between em dash and en dash. I always just thought they were dashes. I write flash fiction and I test out theories I formulate from ideas and teachings from those members and I begin to form ideas in my own mind.

I am damn good at research. I am good because I love to learn new things so I am always researching. I research a great deal on a wide variety of subjects and so I begin to think about ways I could teach others to do this. Do it and make it fun. As I formulate these ideas and figure ways to do this we get engaged in a group project.

Meanwhile, I have returned home from a year long deployment, re engaged my family whom hasn’t seen me in  a good long while. I go on vacation to New York City. I’m thinking about this idea for my story. I’m getting other ideas that conflict with the first idea.

What I am NOT doing is writing. I’m not working on my Novel.  I’m not outlining the next chapter. I’m not doing anything really.

I am on facebook and I am posting like a storm, I’m writing the short story for the project, I’m looking at pictures and I’m listening to music, but I’m not writing. Not on my novel.

I am a stubborn man and I know what I want and I dont compromise. I will not self publish, I will do mine the old fashioned way. Query letter, agent and everything that comes after. I cannot compromise this.

I’m not working on my novel though. It isnt going to magically write itself. But I have a problem and my problem is that I now have a NEW idea. A NEW approach. Story is the same, but this new approach is so much better than the last idea. It’s so much more immersive.

No… but in the moment it seemed so. What is really going on there?

I had quit writing you see. My story became less personal. My story fell out of touch. My characters didn’t speak to me because I was ignoring them. I was giving them the silent treatment. My muse, well she is an impatient woman and she simply walked off and left me to my own devices.

How did I get here?

Time management was needed from the get go. Work, Taxi for the Kiddos, Cooking, Facebooking, TV with my wife because she runs her calendar by the shows on each day, calling my daughter, playing with the kiddo’s later on.

But I want to write!

I am up at 5:30 AM, I go to work and usually come home around 4:30 PM. (I’m active duty military) 4:30 I shower, change, get dinner started. Because I love to cook we don’t eat out of a box dinner. It’s usually from scratch.

Usually done with that around 6:30 preparing and eating that is. This is if there isnt a soccer game, a track meet or a dance rehearsal to go to.

7:00 TV is on. It’s a flurry of activity. Girls have their friends over and they never shut up. Not ever.  Its a cacophony of chitter chatter and giggling and laughing. Then they are dancing to youtube videos and laughing again. I pick up my computer because its just too crazy in here with them and head elsewhere.

I sit down and start to read what I was last writing, I put on ear buds and turn on some music. I lean back and close my eyes letting the music be the transporter to the world I have created. I see it…its in the distance, it has changed on me without my knowing. Not alot but it looks different now. I’m not in the same mindframe I was when I last wrote and so my perspective is different.

A tap on my shoulder yanks me from the world and back into this one. eyes open as I return to the upright sitting position, earbuds are withdrawn and it is my wife. She smiles a pleasant smile and asks me if I want to join her in watching a movie. In our days of chaos I haven’t paid as much attention to her as I would like. She tries and this makes all the difference. I nod slowly, I in a l know all will be calm in a little while. Everyone goes to bed shortly, silence will blanket the house and I will be able to type then.

We watch a TV show. It’s only an hour, maybe two at the most. Seldom more than that. She smiles and heads off to bed. I have a choice, join her or write.

I choose write, and so I head over to my computer. I flick it on. I write out around 700 words. Just not feeling it though. Everything in my day is coming back to me. Things left undone, left unsaid. Appointments that needed to be made.

“I wonder what the group is doing?” I ask myself as I sign onto facebook.

Sometimes I am there 30 mins and sometimes much longer. Again, what I am not doing is writing.

 

Now I have tried a new trick. I write at the bare minium 500 words a day. Every single day I write it out. Sometimes its crap and not a single word is inserted into the novel. Sometimes I reread and think what the heck was I thinking?  But never the less, I write.

The words come easier. My ideas are now more towards my current work and not some other work that I should be doing. I am writing at the same time each day so that my mind is trained to block all other ideas and thoughts out and it seems to be working. I’m not on Facebook as much and I’m not talking to those writers as much. It’s ok though.

I look at them. Many of them have already published. I have not. Is it a race or competition? No, not with these people. I would do anything to see their work to make it into the limelight of mainstream community. I feel we are a team of the sorts. Some of us connect more with certain members, we go through ups and downs but if one of us makes it to the “big time” then it aspires the rest of us to continue.

Writing is hard work. The rest of the world doesn’t see it as anything other than an escape or a hobby. I see it as something different… very different.  To me, our chosen craft is a calling.

10 minutes as you sit in the car before you head home from work. During these 10 minutes have a open conversation with your characters. Talk to yourself outloud. As the days go by they will reveal to you whats wrong with them.

As you wash the dishes or vacum think of your overall plot, anything missing there?

This way, when you do sit down to write, you are focused. Your tunnel vision is on the screen before you. If you write manually first on paper do so and then transfer to your screen.

Little pieces here and there will help. Manage your time if you get on facebook. I have even thought of giving myself a curfew once. Luckily it wasn’t needed. I have shifted focus all on my own. Make realistic goals that are barely a challenge in the beginning. 500 words? its easy, Easy isnt bad. Not to start out. Baby Steps and before I know it I am writing 2000 words a day and all that without really changing too much of my day!

 

 

 

 

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One response

  1. Alex Hurst

    I totally know what you mean. Every since I joined the group, it seems my writing has taken a back seat to all of the other things I sign myself up for (a self-sabotage, perhaps, because I seem to see the worth in what I get instant gratification for and not the long, hard slog). However, today I’ve gotten things settled. The house is completely clean, I am clean, there is no extra work to be done. Notifications are off. And starting Tuesday, I’ll have a full seven days of vacation. No friends, no sight-seeing; just writing and reading. When one isn’t happening, the other will be. It’s a promise to myself.

    I hope you keep working on your novel; it’s the most important thing. When you do have time again, hit me up with some literary theory. I’m a quick study.

    April 28, 2013 at 5:45 am

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