Time is elusive. It doesn’t matter that there is sixty seconds in every minute, or sixty minutes in every hour, or twenty-four hours in every day… I could go on to weeks and months and years, and so on. Time is measurable until it gets to the value of time, hence how we spend the time we’re gifted. This is how something perfectly calculable becomes ambiguous. And when it comes to writing, time is a slippery slope. An elephant crashing through a jungle. A video camera stuck on fast-forward. Or even a melting drop of snow gradually forming the tip of an icicle. And to add on, emotions throw any amount of measurable time available into a heaping pile of stickiness (insert whatever sensory experience increases stress).
So, how do I battle this unwavering monster when I write?
First of all, for me, it’s a balance of taking the beast by the horns and making a “to-do” list. Most importantly, checking off each item on the list (or as many as I can) in the time allotted. I’ve written before about my “lists” because they typically work for me. It’s okay that sometimes I lose the lists. A mental check-off feels just as nice. The feeling of checking off time well spent does wonders for keeping my motivation and positive energy in check.
Secondly, my attitude must be forgiving and kind. If I am angry with myself for not accomplishing the writing I want to do, then I sabotage my next allotted amount of time. The backlash from my previous disappointments tend to hinder what I do next. This behavior is unhelpful. I believe it’s critical to look at each day with new eyes. A fresh start. I find more success forgiving myself for what didn’t get done before and encouraging my inner writer to move on anyway. It isn’t always easy, and sometimes I have to force myself to take strides forward, maybe even in a new direction. To openly reach for what might be possible in a new gift of time. Negativity doesn’t usually produce worthwhile writing for me, so I find I am more receptible to opportunities to create when I am kind to myself.
Thirdly, don’t judge the season or time of year. I’ve recently discovered it’s possible to experience writing success in the midst of busyness and stress. Those particular weeks and months during the year when there is an explosion of responsibility and obligation out of my control… sometimes I do my best writing under these conditions. Other times, when my life is at a lull, or the time of year is slow and uneventful, I accomplish nothing at all. Another trick of this creature, Time.
Here’s a recap:
- Take Time by the horns and make a plan, or list, or intention.
- Be forgiving and kind in the outcome, and always start fresh.
- Don’t prejudge the time of year, you might surprise yourself.
Writing time is a gamble every day, but we can lessen the suspense of it all with a few steps to adjust our attitudes. I am not perfect at this endeavor. I fail often. Running in place, gasping to catch my breath, worried about never having enough time to finish all my projects. But sometimes I win. Completing my to-do lists or having peace fill my heart at the end of any day, regardless of the outcome. Reigning in time is possible, with the right attitude and self-discipline skills.
Time often struts his feathers like a male peacock, awesome and brawny. Any amount of time can feel intimidating. Try these three steps to manage this wild bird and get back to feeling in control again. And always, no matter what’s ticking on the clock or what time of year it is, always keep writing. There is value in any amount gifted. Every second, every minute, every hour… every day. Use it to your advantage.
Writing Advice: Timed Warm-Ups
Set the timer. Write about a topic (a color, a season, a holiday, a sport, a movie, a book character, any subject of choice) for 1 minute. Then, on a new sheet of paper (or new document page) write about the same subject for 5 minutes. Then again for 15 minutes. Stop and analyze. Maybe the sentence you came up with in your 1-minute interval was priceless and you elaborated on it in the other writing times. Perhaps, by the time you got to your 15-minute span of writing, you revised the first sentence into something different, stronger.
The point is recognizing time can be brief or lengthy, and we can still produce something fantastic. If you tend to write in short bursts – great! Write within those short bursts. If you find that you require longer lengths of writing time, then schedule it. But if you don’t have it, then build off smaller bursts until you can get to those longer stretches of time. Unfortunately, there are no excuses now. We need to write whenever we can, along with balancing the other non-writing side of our lives… equally important (and definitely a separate blog post topic for another Sunday).
Any time we are gifted to write is a good use of time. So now that you’re warmed up, go spend a minute or two on your WIP. Cheers!
~By Celaine Charles, August 26, 2018
https://etcenteronline.com/product/time-management/ (spiraling clock)
https://erikakind.me/2016/08/15/forgiving-is-for-the-forgiver/ (time of the year)
Categories: Thoughts on writing...
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