Sunday, October 7, 2007

Tricking Time

By Janie Van Komen

Nobody really has "time." The concept of owning time simply doesn't exist. Time is kind of like a pet that has to be trained or a child who doesn't want to do his or her jobs. Time will find a million things for you to do with it and try to entice you into each one. It will occupy your space here in this life with diddly nothingness.

It must be harnessed and disciplined, but just like the child who doesn't want to go to bed or clean his room you can find ways to trick time.

Each day a person looks out in the morning and takes some kind of inventory of the day's events. Some of us have more control over these events than others do but regardless of your current status of time organization what you have to do can and will take up all your time. It's kind of like when I had my sixth child and I said to my husband. "I wish I had appreciated how much time I really had when we only had four children."

My husband's reply was that I really didn't have more time then. He then said, "Okay if you think you had more time when you had four children then pretend like you had to take care of two more children so that we had eight children for a period of time and they have gone home now and so you are down to six."

"That's ridiculous," I said. My husband agreed and told me that no matter how many children I had they would always take up all my time.

As I pondered this statement and realized the truthfulness of it I realized that whatever I was doing could take up all of my time. If I ever wanted to do anything other than what was required of me I would have to find a way to fit it into the cracks.

What I wanted to do was write. I made a commitment to myself that I had to write something every day. I must admit that there have been days that the only thing I wrote was my name as I signed a check for this or that. However, I have learned how to take advantage of time snippets.

I always have a notepad with me. If I am working on a particular writing project I jot prompts into my notebook, things like; the last paragraph I wrote on the computer; ideas for articles I am going to explore; who I need to write a letter to; etc etc.

At home I have the various things I am working on placed in strategic locations around the house. I try not to put everything away when I'm not using it. If I have to get my writing out of a box, drawer, or closet I am less likely to jump in for five minutes here and there. I have found creative ways to disguise the stuff so that it doesn't look like a lot of excess clutter.

While I wait for kids to get ready for school, sports, or something else I write. Sitting in the car waiting to pick somebody up from school, doctor appointment, or a bank teller who is busy, I write.

I don't watch television unless it is some specific program I have planned for in advance. I don't spend a long time talking on the telephone. I'm not a very good friend. I am very selective in the friends I do things with because friendship can be very time consuming.

I read while I walk on my treadmill or ride my stationary bicycle. (I've tried writing while doing this but I can never read what I have written.)

I make writing dates with myself. A writing date consists of going someplace to write. Sometimes I go to the library, sometimes it's a nature park, sometimes it's Barnes and Noble, but wherever it is I decide how much I want to write while I am there and try to stick to my commitment.

I make deals with my family. If they will let me write for X amount of time then I will do whatever the bribe is.

Very few of us have the luxury of unlimited quantities of time to sit and languish over our keyboards with no interruptions. With a little ingenuity and a little dedication we can each find cracks in our lives where we can squeeze a little writing here and there and maybe even a chunk of an hour if we are lucky.

Keep the secret of writing in the cracks a secret so that time doesn't find out that you are tricking it to squeeze more out than it has to give.


Anne Bradshaw said...

I love these ideas--especially the writing dates :-) If only readers realized how much goes into creating a book. I get the feeling the majority have no clue.

Traci Hunter Abramson said...

So many people ask how I find the time to write and you described it beautifully. In reality, writers don't necessarily want to write, we have to write. We just have to bargain with time to get it done.

Marsha Ward said...

Janie, thanks for sharing your tips for wresting time for writing out of those limited 24 hours we get each day.

A special thanks for signing your post right up at the top. I get frustrated when I'm reading a group blog post and can't picture who the author is unless I first scroll down to the bottom to see who posted it. Wasted time for me, when I only have those same limited 24 hours into which I work my surfing as well as my writing!