71 Days

There is only so much time. Each day has the same twenty-four hours; we just have to decide how we are going to use them. I saw a quiz (or maybe it was an app) on several friends’ Facebook pages this week. Apparently, the gizmo calculates how much time you spent on Facebook over the past year. I don’t think that any of the “totals” I saw were less than 1700 hours. *reaches for calculator* Uhhhhhh…that comes out to nearly SEVENTY-ONE DAYS on Facebook. Seriously. Seventy-one freakin’ days…nothing but Facebook. Now, honestly, who knows how accurate the thing is; but still, it made me think about how I spend my time.

There are a lot of things that simply have to be done each day, whether we like it or not. Life is full of time suckers. There is the commute to work (for me, that kills nearly 1.5 each day). I try to make use of that commute time, though—most days that becomes my Talk Time. I call my parents and talk about my day, their day, the kids, their health. And I consider that time well spent. I’m getting older which, of course, means they are, too. I want to make sure that I get in all the talks I can…while I can. *knock wood*

I also try to spend a bit of time each weekday on Twitter and Facebook connecting with friends, and readers, and people that will become friends and might someday read my stories. (Weekends I try to stay off social media, because, you know, Family Time.) And, like my parental talk time, this is precious, too. Some of my dearest friends are those I have never met in person, but when my husband had his heart attack they rallied around me. They are important.

Credit: hhttp://cristianmihai.net/2013/10/17/are-you-ready-for-nanowrimo-2/
Credit: hhttp://cristianmihai.net/2013/10/17/are-you-ready-for-nanowrimo-2/

I spend most lunch hours writing, but it isn’t enough—not nearly enough. I have been contemplating doing NaNoWriMo this year. If you haven’t heard, November is National Novel Writing Month. And, if you weren’t aware, yours truly is writing a novel. It is unlike anything I’ve written before, and if I can somehow coax All The Things In My Head onto the page then maybe I can do the story justice. But first, I need to finish the first draft. This is where NaNoWriMo comes in.

Apparently, I need deadlines (I also really need to win the lottery, but that’s another post). When left to my own devices, I meander and wander and lollygag. I need a firm end point in order to get things done. Yes, I know, NaNoWriMo is an artificial, self-imposed deadline. The world will not end if I don’t finish the first draft, no one will be sad or let down…except me. So if fake deadlines will make it happen, fake deadlines I shall have.

There are twenty four hours in the day, and I am squandering them. I am letting far too many hours slip through my fingers, and I can’t get that time back. But I can try to make the most of my time from here on out.

I can’t blame having young kids, or needing to cook or clean, or having to work full time, or having familial health issues—plenty of people have had all of these Real Life Things to contend with and STILL managed to write best sellers, or Science the Heck Out of Things, or write music, or…whatever. The difference is that they made their Thing a priority. That squeezed in a few minutes here, a few minutes there. They got up earlier, or went to bed later, or made story notes on the back of their grocery list while waiting in line, or at their kids’ bus stop, or on the sidelines at football practice.

There is always a good reason to NOT do The Thing You Love. There is always an excuse for why it has to take a backseat to All The Other Things. But the thing is, when all is said and done, I don’t want to have another excuse. I want to have another story (hopefully well told) to share.

So, starting today, I am going to “mind my moments” and try to use them to the best effect. And *nervous sigh* I am going to commit to NaNoWriMo. I might even share some of my daily words here…if I am feeling particularly brave (or masochistic, depending how you look at it).

Wish me luck.

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7 thoughts on “71 Days

  1. I wish you luck and the time to fulfill your dream. Everyone needs to spend time working towards a goal instead of just talking about it. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction.

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  2. I think you have hit on the reality of my life. Full time job, wife, mother of 2 under 13 who each play 2 serious sports, AND professional-hobby screenwriter (3/4 of these things make me happy, the other does NOT at all).

    Add to that all the other sh*t that interests me and further divides my attention from my screenplay focus (insert my own laughter here, as I just finished writing up stuff on BAFTA Scotland’s politically motivated dismissal of Outlander because THAT interested me an hour ago).

    Having said that, I have a deadline in mind- end of Dec. 2015 for finishing my BEST SCREENPLAY EVER!!!! It’ll be crunch time by end of November, no doubt, because I am so interested in other stuff too. Really deadlines are a must or nothing gets done.

    But I think it’s all of these distractions, all of these people you meet, virtually and in-person, who inform your creative projects more than you realize. Although, when I take a break from that, I try to spend more time showering, vacuuming and listening to music because that’s when I seem to get all of my good ideas. All of that time counts toward “research” I tell myself.

    Bonne chance on your novel. You CAN do it!

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    • It really is true, isn’t it? The things that inform us…

      And don’t even get me started on the BAFTA snub.

      My best ideas come when showing, driving, gardening, and listening to NPR. Always time well spent, that.

      I wish you great success on The Best Screenplay Ever. Maybe if my story becomes The Best Novel Ever (well, after Outlander, let’s keep it real here), we can team up on a Best Thing Ever project. 😉

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  3. Good luck! Don’t apologize for needing some sort of stimulus to get your book to become more of a priority in your life. It gives you a reason to say no to things you really didn’t want to do and helps you decide what things to keep in your daily routine. In a hundred years, no one will comment on how many times you dusted the living room, but if you have a great story in print that will live on long after you’re gone.

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  4. “There is always a good reason not to do the thing you love.” Have you ever met someone who reaches out to you and says something to you just when you need to hear it.? I hadn’t planned on checking my e-mails but here it is 2:00AM and I am awake.

    When I was a teenager I told my mother I wanted to be a writer. She told me to get a real job because life happens and I needed to be able to take care of myself. (My father passed away when she was thirty leaving her with three children to raise.) So I packed away my dreams and got on with life, and she was right. I married a good man who was high functioning but suffers from chronic depression.

    Fast forward twenty years and I received a letter from my mother. She had found my box of dreams and read them. She liked them, especially the ones about history; but could I please include a love story. (she really liked historical romances) I remember that day because I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry so I did both.

    By then I allowed myself to be lured into the trap. I had children to raise, a home to take care of, a job, pets and a husband who needed my emotional support. There weren’t enough hours in the day or so I told myself. Not that I didn’t write but something always seemed to pull me away from what I most wanted to do.

    It took the loss of my mother and my husband’s deteriorating health for me to wake up to what was really important to me. I could deal with loss and grief. I could face financial crisis. (heart attacks aren’t cheap, even with insurance)

    BUT what I couldn’t deal with anymore was the loss of myself. Like so many women especially in the capacity of care giving I forgot how important it is to care about yourself.

    I have allowed two words to hold me back from my dream The first is but. How many of us allow that three letter word to hold us hostage. ” You are so smart, pretty, talented, etc but… The other is fear. Fear of rejection, no one will like my work. Fear of failure, and fear people will think I am selfish if I think about my needs.

    The truth is my husband is not only proud of me but I find I have more energy to give him what he needs. My daughter has taken care of my fear of being laughed at for thinking I can write. She tells everyone her mother is writing a book. No one has laughed yet.

    I have never met you yet I feel I know you through your words. Thank you for being there at just the right moment.

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    • It seems we are soul sisters, because reading your words is like looking in a mirror.

      No, heart attacks are NOT cheap. We are still struggling to pay all the bills from my husbands. And, more than money, a health scare drains your energy and peace of mind.

      Most days I still feel like a fraud and am amazed that people take the time to read anything I pen. So, dear friend, your words are a gift to me.

      Please make sure to find the time, make sure not to lose yourself again. It is so much harder to find the scattered pieces than it is to keep yourself whole. I must make sure my daughters understand that. A hard lesson, that one.

      It sounds like your daughter understands that. And your husband. Bless them. And you.

      💕Write on.💕

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