Monday, August 20, 2012

Use Time to make your Writing Tick

It’s amazing what you can get done in 30 minutes.

A few weeks ago, I drove my stepson to his guitar lesson. Instead of spending my time there, losing another round of Words with Friends, I decided to try and be productive. I had a few ambitious goals for that limited time frame, but rather than think about it too much, I just waved goodbye and went about my business.
It was time for an eyebrow wax. I don’t torture myself in this particular way very often, but it really was time. I rolled the dice and drove to a salon a block or so from the guitar shop. Amanda was able to help me right away, and when the ripping and tweezing was done, I still had 15, maybe even 17,  minutes until I had to head back.

Do I dare? I had to go to the post office. The horror! As I walked in, I knew immediately I had pressed my luck. As usual, there was a line creeping along at lava’s pace. But wait, holy kiosk, Batman! I didn’t have succumb to the herd, I could weigh my envelope and get the exact postage printed for me with only a swipe of a credit card. I even stoned that other bird, checking my business P.O. Box. I am sooo productive!

With the minutes I still had to spare, I took a few notes for this blog post back in the car. I didn’t write the whole thing, of course, I’m doing that now. Besides, I had to drive back to the guitar shop. If I wouldn’t have had to take a left across a busy street, I would have been exactly on time. My stepson was ready to go, saving me from even glancing at my pitiful Words with Friends standing.

 Time is what you make of it
Sometimes the self-defeating chatterbox in my head tells me not to start something NOW, because there’s just not enough time to get anywhere with it.  When I tell myself that often enough, guess how much I get written? Nada.  Sure, sometimes getting to the writing is as pleasant as a waxing, but you will feel so much better when it’s over (You’ve heard, “I don’t like to write, I like to have written.” I’m pretty sure it’s the same with waxing).

Excuse Editor Tips:

·         Skip the “ready, set.” Just GO!  If you know you have time constraints, just force in as much as you can
with the time you have available. I used to give myself an hour to write a blog post. I carefully choose my words, I ponder, I edit… What I am really trying to say is: I AM SLOW. Giving myself that much time didn’t allow for any sense of urgency*. If I glanced at the clock, I still had plenty of time. Meaning, I lost momentum. Just now, I have written almost 500 words in less than 30 minutes…. Because…

·         Microsoft Word is Not a Stone Tablet.  I know I can, and will, go back and edit a bit. Not as much as I would for a submission, but enough to feel OK. OK. Not Perfect.

·         Prove Yourself Wrong. Still don’t think you can get anything worth using in 30 minutes? Or even 15? Set a timer and try it anyway. If it doesn’t work, try it again. If it does work, repeat until it doesn’t.  You watch TV, right? Think of the fullness of the stories you get in 30 minutes—actually, take out the commercials and it’s only about 22. Creativity doesn’t have to be long-winded, even if you are.

Happy Writing!

*Here’s the thing, even if the timer is set for 15 or 30 minutes, I may still take an hour to finish it. But putting that bit of pressure on myself gets me started, where the healthy cushion of time felt like a soft, comfortable pillow, just begging me to cuddle up and relax.

Is it just me? Do you use time as an excuse, only to discover you’ve wasted time making excuses?

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