Friday, November 02, 2012

Time (Timed) Trials

We've all heard it. From our friends, relations, the guy at the fast food counter--everyone, in fact: "I'm going to write someday when I have time."

It doesn't work that way. Time is a booby trap. It tricks all of us. Here's the way it goes:

Your college English teacher thinks you have talent, so you vow "I'm going to write as soon as finals are over." Then it's, "I'm going to write as soon as I get a job. I can't write with the big search hanging over my head."

This is followed by "I'll write as soon as I get the wedding invitations in the mail." Then it's when the thank you notes are sent.

Starting after morning sickness stops sounds reasonable. Can't expect to write if I'm throwing up every day.

Then there's post-partum depression and the baby's colic.

The kid cut teeth. Why?

Then the kid needed stuff that required leaving the house: shots, pre-school, kindergarten graduation, trick or treat costumes. Lessons. Endless lessons.

Then the old folks required attention. They couldn't think right. Body parts wearing out. Determined to do right by them. Where did all this paperwork come from?

Okay. All of us who blog for Type M eluded this trap. We wrote our books and got them published. Somehow we managed to out-fox the Time Trickster.

Then wily Old Time Trickster set another trap. We trust our sense of discipline now. We don't have to write everyday. Many of us learned to write anywhere. But who wants to write during a conference? Promotion takes time. Blogs take time. And marketing! You don't want to know.

We substitute new inner dialogue: "I'll write when my tour is over. I'm write when I can afford my own publicist. I'm away from my computer. I can't write on the road. I'll write when . . ."

Time trickles away. Panic is good. It's the ultimate goad to consistent production.

Panic is good, but guilt is better.

There's a lot to be said for other career paths.

4 comments:

Frankie Y. Bailey said...

Thanks, Charlotte, for a timely dose of guilt. I meant to take the Novel in a Month challenge that started yesterday to get deeper into the first draft of my next book. But I looked at the calendar yesterday and decided I didn't have time to really get down to work until later in the month. And then I would have said until after Thanksgiving. And a whole month would be gone. Sit down tonight and start typing.

Charlotte Hinger said...

Frankie, you have so many phenomenal books to your credit that surely not one word could apply to you. Your work in African American history alone blows my mind. What a great contribution to scholarship.

But time trickles. It's so deceptive.

Rick Blechta said...

Excellent and spot on! Thanks.

Irene Bennett Brown said...

ubmnafWonderful post, Charlotte, and so true. You have me smiling away my guilt.