Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Emerging from a Time Vortex

Okay, I have no frame of reference, but that is precisely what it feels like coming out of the Easter break. Four days went by in a blink, one day merged with another - literally since I stayed up all nights and went to sleep at stupid hours.

Glad to say that I managed to stick to my editing, though all the rest of the goals went out of the window from Saturday night till Monday night. The break started out productively enough, with Thursday night, and Friday and Saturday quite well covered with editing, reading, writing craft related goals. But then on Saturday night, hubby gave me his monitor because he bought a new one.

This one has some problems, which for him - as a proper gamer - are not acceptable. But it's still better than my old monitor, and since I only use my desktop to play Sims 3, and occassional writing/editing when I want a change of scene, it works fabulous. Sims looked so amazing on this one that I had to play a little. Of course once I played a little, I was done for.

This got me thinking about time and how it works. During normal working week, I am so conscious of lack of writing time that my evenings are usually productive, and if they are not, I feel immensely guilty. I have improved a little because I do try to remember that I am allowed to have fun and relax. But as a rule, I have huge to-do lists waiting (writing related or learning related). I think it's because I feel that because I have to "waste" my time all day doing stuff I don't want to do, in the evenings I try to make the best use of it by pursuing my dream.

Yet, when I have a week or so off, productivity is rarely as much as I expect it should be. If I were to base my schedule on how I get things done in the evening, in one full week off from work, I should be super productive. But that's not the case. Routine breaks, sleeping habits change, lathargy steps in, and the desire to just chill and have fun, and do stuff later kicks in. I usually do get the important stuff that I know I must and have deadlines for - like editing for example, or writing during NaNo, but other stuff that I need to do but don't have deadlines sort of falls behind.

That made me wonder about being a full time writer, and whether I could be productive writing full-time. I tell myself that it would be different because writing will be my full-time job, and I will have free time for hobbies - whereas right now I have a full time job and my free time is spent towards writing goals. Yet, I can't help but occasionally wonder if i would need to keep at least part time job to keep me in some sort of routine. I know this isn't today's problem or even tomorrow's but we are writing - building castles in the air is our trade ;)

Okay that's enough of my ramble - how about you? Do you manage to stick to your schedules with disciplined? Do you make use of holidays from your regular jobs? Are you super disciplined people that I am going to be intensely jealous of and wish that my parents had sent me to nunnery to learn discipline? Or do you fall of the productivity wagon to do frivolous things some times - like play computer games or watch tv or just sleep? (I never do the latter - that would drive me crazy if I wasted free days sleeping)


  1. I think this is something that every writer who wants to write full-time should explore...and for some people, they really need the structure of some sort of "day job" to keep them moving.

    For me, it takes approximately 2 days of doing "nothing" on any kind of vacation before I feel like doing *anything* like work. That includes hobbies, yardwork, writing, or anything else. Even if I don't travel, I take two full weeks off per year. One is to prep for the annual Halloween party, the other is generally in the summer to relax and do household projects. Regardless, I need at least a day of just laying around before I'll actually get anything done - it's like I have to shift gears before I can get motivated.

    So I think if I were ever able to quit my day job to write full-time, I'd be able to make the transition and still be productive, it would just take awhile to get out of "outside motivation" mode and into "internal motivation" mode, if that makes any sense.

    Deadlines would definitely help in that situation... ;-)

  2. Jamie,

    It makes perfect sense :-) I can't just sit and do nothing. Not even for an hour. I must be doing something at all times - often more than one thing at a time, so even my holidays are always busy - the problem is keeping them busy with more productivity and less waste of time. But I beat myself up about that a lot as well, so working on that.

  3. I think I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I were a full-time writer. Not be interrupted 20 gajillion times at night by the dog or the cats or The Husband or The Kiddo? I love them, and who knows, maybe their interruptions are what fuels my writing. Hmmm.

    I believe I WOULD have to impose a schedule, though. And I'd have to go to an office, a real office, just so people would take you seriously.

  4. I can be really productive sometimes, but only when I have a real deadline (like when my agent is waiting for a rewrite). Mostly I just get bogged down with everyday stuff and never get as much done as I want to.

  5. LOL - Productivity. Gah. I'm pretty bad at keeping a schedule. I know, you're so surprised ;o) LOL.

    I think this is a great question, with more time, AKA if you quit your day job and write full time, will it be more productive? Hmmm, good question. I think I'll have to at least volunteer or something. Knowing me.

    Yay for the editing ;o)

  6. Cynthia,

    Having an office definitely sounds good :-)) Though I think for me - if I could go home at any time (since it would be my office), I probably would :P


    Yup we value what we don't have. I don't have time right now, so I am very protective of it. But if I were a full time writer with "all the time to write" - I would probably procrastinate more, unless I can manage to knock some self-discipline into my head.


    Volunteering. Yes, I think about that as an option too. Or a morning job for like 3 hours, just to get out of the bed and house, and get going. In a Library ;)

  7. I can't sit around doing nothing either. Even when I'm watching T.V. I have to be working on my lap top, reading, or doing a craft.

    Could I be a more productive writer if I could stay home to write? To be honest I'd probably be less productive because I'd find it easier to give in to all the distractions I'm able to ignore now because my time is limited. It's something I plan to work on.:-)

  8. C R,

    I am exactly the same. The only time I just watch TV is if something is so important to me that I have to pay complete attention as not to miss a single thing.

    Yup - it's rubbish isn't it? We waste time when we have it, and moan when we don't. *sigh*