Monday, April 28, 2008

That Old Question

Where does one find time to write?

In recent days I have found myself pondering that question. There are multiple things I want to accomplish, but I seem to have forgotten how much time babies take. And how much babysitting seems like "sitting around doing nothing". So, not only is the house fairly trashed, but the writing isn't getting done either.

So I guess the mentor for this month should be Kate Chopin. (I think.) If she's the correct person that I'm thinking of, she had something like eight children. When her husband died, she started cranking out the books to feed everyone...a lucrative idea even then. This was at the turn of the century. So: she did not have a computer; she did not have a husband to shove the kids off on for a few minutes; she did not have a washing machine, vaccuum cleaner, or a nanny, and all she had was twenty four measly hours to crank out classics, a la The Awakening.

I guess it goes back to that whole Cowboy Up thing. But somehow I'd like a more definite plan. How do you guys do it? Is it better to just do a tiny bit (like a paragraph)and give yourself credit for it, so you don't feel quite so bad? And all this doubt coming right when I'm starting a new, larger project and rewriting FJR.

4 comments:

  1. Here's something really funny:
    So, I just posted that and then, on the scrolling "Jenny's favorite quotes" comes:

    "Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein. "— H. Jackson Brown, Jr., writer

    Jeez, a little synchronicity there, or what?

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  2. Synchronicity is a beautiful thing :)

    It's funny you mention kids. When I was doing the regular babysitting gig, I tended to get a lot done because I had to devote a certain amount of attention to kid-watching, which meant I couldn't totally ignore the kids while I surfed the web or something, but also that I didn't need to devote all my attention to them (they get vocal if they want something) which turns out to be a good balance for me, focus-wise. So, while the kids watched TV or played with friends, I could jot a few paragraphs here and there between making sure no one was bleeding.

    Now-a-days my best strategy is either having a deadline, or getting away from distractions like my TV or the internet. It's definitely a conscious effort, though.

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  3. Ah, yes. Synchronicity is a beautiful and scary thing.

    While I prefer chunks of time for revising especially, I'm finding that even being able to jot a few paragraphs or a scene outline helps. At least I get a check mark next to the "Writing" spot on my daily to-do list.

    The problem with time is that you can't always take advantage of it when it's given you. A little while ago I had a full week off with nothing else to do but try to feel better. But that seemed to take every minute.

    I'm sure you run into the same phenomenon with a baby in the house. Once everything's quiet--if it ever really is--all you want to do is sleep too.

    Time for us all to Cowboy Up, I guess. Plan ahead. Keep notebooks handy for those spare moments so you can jot a couple sentences. Digitial recorder? Private secretary?

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  4. I wish I had something profound to say here, but I got nothin'... Been slacking off myself, and I'm not sure why.

    Time to cowgirl up :-)

    Although as an aside comment: my grandmother had seven kids, no washing machine etc. Her secret? Family help, and having the kids raise each other.

    Maybe I shoulda had more kids...:-)

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