One of the best things about A Round of Words in 80 Days is that it lets me see when a problem is no longer a temporary thing, but a battle royale. That’s where I’m at now. I’ve been at the computer most of the day, and only crossed a few things off the list. If I was to look at the list and estimate the time it should have taken me, I’d have said 3-4 hours. It’s been much more than that.
My kids are pretty good, and don’t interrupt me too often. I don’t currently have a phone (which I secretly LOVE…though I do need to get a new number before school starts) so I’m not interrupted that way. Yet, life happens around me. Dinner must be cooked, the dog must be walked. I stay active on social media not just because it is a distraction, but because doing so is part of maintaining a presence on the web.
I do think too large a portion is being frittered away. Tiny pieces at a time that add up to too much. This is why I prefer to do things in large chunks, instead of doing small pieces of different tasks. It’s easier to stay focused when I’m concentrating on one thing for an extended time. Twice now I’ve done the Three-Day-Novel contest. I had the luxury of working at a college where I could go off-hours to work in a place with the resources I needed: internet, a comfortable workspace, and a little kitchenette where I could nuke myself a meal whenever I felt like it. I had hubby’s buy-in to take full charge of the kids while I spent all day writing. Just over twenty thousand words in three days. High productivity.
Yet, I am accomplishing a lot. I am also noticing some direct rewards since the move to Colorado, and the changes that came with that move. Although I won’t be taking the family out to dinner anytime soon, I made more in June and again in July than I did the entire first six months of the year. That’s a huge upswing, and I need to keep doing the things that…well…that I think affected that upswing. It’s hard to tell exactly what they were, but I believe it’s more of a complete, integrated, holistic thing that brings about results. It’s not one thing.
Getting in some writing five days a week is a struggle. If you count things like blog posts, I make that goal easily. However, that goal is specific to actual writing, whether it is The Beekeeper’s Mother/The Beekeeper’s Widow/The Beekeeper’s Daughter that is my Camp NaNoWriMo project, or one of the stories I have half finished for The Cities of Luna.
The refrain of “I just can’t find time to write” got old a long time ago. So I’m fighting the good fight. I’m not just whining “Aw, life is hard but I’m trying!” Nope. I am actively examining my priorities, my commitments, and my time management. I am making changes where I can.
It isn’t easy. But this is a battle I choose to fight.
First off, hooray for the sales! I may just be responsible for a tiny little piece of that (now, to find the time to READ them….)
I’ve always thought that a HUGE piece of the puzzle is in knowing how we tick. For instance, I tend to not do so well working on one thing for extended periods most of the time. I’m much better with microbursts here and there, which keeps my extremely active brain busy, and lets all the separate ideas blend and merge…which is a reason, too, that there will always be a fan fiction goal in there – that writing primes the pump for the Other Stuff, and, when everything else goes dry, I can always count on Spock, Trip, and/or T’Pol to stir things up.
You are an inspiration to me. If all goes well, I’ll be offering my first short story for free or nearly so by the end of the year. It’s those like you who are further along in the process that I’m looking to as I prepare for that next Leap of Faith…
Good luck on the figuring out what’s working! =D
AmyBeth, have you looked into groups like the 10 Minute Novelists? (and yeah, I’m always willing to plug my Five Sentences meme) These peeps make use of those “frittered” moments. Because, as you note, there ARE a lot of them out there. It’s amazing how many little moments get tossed by the wayside because we feel we don’t have the time to really delve into a project.
Glad you’re finding a new balance however. Sometimes it takes a new outlook…
Many of us are in that trench next to you, fighting ourselves. We’ll all get there, eventually.
Yes we will!