Sunday, January 11, 2009

time doesn't come in a bottle

Time is what I am struggling with. Why did I choose this past week to "catch up" on some hours (oh, so that I might avoid the end of January/beginning of February monetary slump that I've hit every year for the past three or four). The same week that the two classes I'm teaching started. The same week that dragon boat practice started. And that the writing workshop started.


And still I made time, as all of the writers in the workshop made time, snatching it from here and there in order to write. To read others' writing and post comments. To build a temporary community word by word.

And I wonder about what role time - or lack of time - has in my writing? Certainly someitmes in the past there were periods where I was not so busy; vacations or down time from work when the hours didn't come, and I was not a prolific writer during those slow times. Sometimes when I'm not busy I struggle to put down five words in a row.

So when is lack of time a management technique that forces me to look at what I'm doing or forces my inner editor out of the way so that I can just write because, goddammit, I need to write now and I don't have time to worry about whether this first or second draft makes sense. Just get it down and hit submit.

But I overdid it this week in terms of work. I had to steal time from sleep to write - which also is not new, it was just a difficult week to do it in. Right now I'm stealing time from the gym where I am supposed to be doing my dragon boat practice routine to build up specific muscles - especially important since I just found out on Friday that I lost the partial insurance stipend from the college where I teach because I didn't work enough hours, so right now I'm uninsured and can't afford an injury. And here I am still in front of the computer.

In her book, "How to be a Famous Writer Before You're Dead," Ariel Gore talks about making writing a priority. For me that priority means time. I've managed to juggle and finagle and pop in some hours here and there this week and I need to look at my my every changing schedule and put in some time for the next few weeks. Right now the writing can't wait - literally I find myself jotting quick notes while driving, (when I stop at the light, maybe) - I make notes between interpreting at my work because I can't write and sign at the same time so notes are cryptic and disjointed and it is sometimes over an hour before I can get back to that brief five second note I'm trying to write - and then there is turning on the computer when I get home at 1:45 AM after I promised not to because I have something to say and I'm up until three or four in the morning writing and then I only have four hours of sleep before I'm getting ready to go back to work.

Priority. I'm trying. And meanwhile I"m writing. And I know I am not alone in the struggle with time. We are still writing. My schedule is a little more sane this coming week and I'll see how the writing goes. I can't keep cutting sleep in order to write, yet I know I will if I have to. I could (and did) when I was twenty-five for theater; but that was a long time ago - I don't recover as easily from long bouts of not enough sleep, my body gets cranky.

Priority = making time. Which is not the same as doing nothing, because then where would my inspiration come from?

I made writing a priority for November's novel in a month. I. Can. Do. This.

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This is adapted from a post earlier today in the forums on the Lit Star Training workshop I'm doing with Ariel Gore.

Picture from Tortuga Ln
where recycled glass products,
including Time In A Bottle,
are for sale