Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Finding Time for the Right Things

Finding time to write has become an ageless concept in the writing world. All of us want to discover the magic formula for making hours instantly appear on the clock, or days added to the end of a month, or even just ten more minutes before the morning commute.

There is no magic formula.

Last night, I was determined
to get some words down, to immerse myself in my story. But then I got distracted. My stomach was growling and I can't write when I'm hungry. This wasn't an excuse - it was a need. So I went and grabbed a bowl of cereal (I'm a sucker for cereal as an evening snack). Then my daughter showed me her book that she'd checked out of the library and asked me if I wanted to look through it. Since she snuggled up next to me, how on earth could I say no?

After we finished, I put in my Susan Boyle CD (she is SUCH an inspiration!) and my daughter started asking me about her since she absolutely loved the talented Ms. Boyle's voice. When I told her about the original video on Britain's Got Talent and how this woman had inspired so many people to live their dreams, my daughter wanted to watch the video. So off to the computer we trotted (I write on a laptop that is not hooked up to the internet - this keeps me from mindlessly surfing when I should be writing!). Naturally, I had to watch the video with her and got inspired all over again.

By this time, that precious hour I had for my writing had disappeared. It was time to get my daughter and myself ready for bed. After we were both settled in for the night, I grabbed my laptop and managed to write a few hundred words. Not much, but by then, my eyes barely wanted to stay open.

The moral of this story? Live your life. Allow a few interruptions. In my case, I was able to share an important lesson with my daughter - that it is never too late to chase your dreams, and you cannot judge a person by how they look. Would I have accomplished this had I chased her off and said, "Shh, I'm writing, can't talk to you right now." Absolutely not.

Sometimes, the writing is not the most important thing. I've read too many articles where people advocate putting your writing above everything else. I don't agree. There is a time and a place for it, and if that time and place doesn't quite work out, you simply accept it and move on. Don't allow guilt to rear its ugly head. If I had focused on my writing instead of my daughter, we wouldn't have shared so much and learned so much together. And to me, that's more precious than writing any novel in the world.


  1. Very beautifully put and I agree 120%. *sniff sniff*

  2. One of my favorite quotes is: "I shall live badly if I do not write, and I shall write badly if I do not live." --Francois Sagan

    They don't work well without their opposite. Life is what provides the fuel for writing and should never be the "back up plan." And my kids? They ALWAYS come first.

  3. Beautiful and so so true!

  4. Anonymous5:10 PM

    I loved reading this post - you are gaining more and more wisdom and are right on as to what is important in life - I am so proud to call you my daughter! :-)

  5. Anonymous5:12 PM

    Of course it is me, Mom - I must have forgot my Blogger password:-)

  6. Melissa, I was listening to Susan Boyle last night too! (spooky eh, but nice). Except it was two mini schnauzers cuddling up to their daddy!

    That talent show, just emphasises how society judges 'us' on looks alone, before we even open our mouths,and there must be a few morals in that story of Susan Boyle for 'all of us.'

    I've just noticed that GOOGLE have put a Norman Rockwell picture up on their main search space just FOR YOU!! :) I'm trying to find one of my favourites where it is a man sitting at a piana (I think) and his wife/partner is standing behind him with her hands on his shoulders. For some reason I love that one.

  7. You're so right.

  8. Rebecca - Thank you. :-)

    L.T. - I LOVE that quote!

    Laurie - Thanks!

    Aw, thanks, Mom! :-)

    Paddy - You're so right about Susan Boyle. And did you know it is Norman Rockwell's b'day today?

    Terri - Thank you!

    Debs - I get it right once in awhile. ;-)

  9. I think, for me, I have to be willing to just work on something for a few minutes. Thus, no immersion. Then I can get more done.

  10. I agree 100%! There is a time for everything and we cannot negate life for writing. Living has to happen in order for the words to pour.

  11. This is wonderful! Especially since my daughter in particular demands so much of my attention. I'm more than glad to give it to her. I do like to write though... ;)

  12. Elana - Excellent point. I sometimes think that I need a huge block of time to get things done when if I would just allow myself to do what I can in a few minutes, I can at least get SOMETHING accomplished. Thanks for stopping by!

    Tamika - I loved how you phrased that: "Living has to happen in order for the words to pour." Excellent!

    T.Anne - I think it's a fine balance. Our kids can definitely consume a lot of our time, but they have to realize that mommy needs her time, too. :-)

  13. Good lessons! I've had my writing schedule taken over by half with the new dog and dealing with his needs first thing in the AM. Let me out...feed me...pat me... But I remind myself it will calm down once he's a little older and in the meantime, the writing time I do have left in the morning I'll just have to be REALLY proactive with and get as much done as possible.

  14. Wow, I'm impressed you were able to get a few hundred words written when you're tired like that!

    Love the quote from L.T. And I agree--living life makes us better writers.

  15. Kelly - Amazing how much time they take, isn't it?

    Christine - I'm not sure they were GOOD words, but hey, "you can't fix nothing!"


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