“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
I’ve tried this experiment before. It doesn’t work. It simply is just not possible for me to stay up until 1:00 a.m. or later and the make it up between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m. to write and/or go to the gym.
Few things are constant in my life. This is one of them.
What then to do about the needed time to write, to exercise and to do any number of things?
I already wrote about some of this yesterday. This is not intended to be a gripe session about how I need more time in my day.
But, I need more time in my day.
How then to find it?
Can I make more time by being more organized? Perhaps. Of course there’s the time needed to get organized.
Can I make more time by shutting down Facebook and Twitter and Words with Friends and Pinterest and…? Sure, I can. Right after one more refresh.
Can I quit my day job? No, not yet. We’ve already discussed that. The day job, in fact, is what supports my other habits of writing, and design and acting. Oh, and feeding the family.
So, how do I find the time I need?
Don’t suggest any time management books. I honestly don’t have time to read them. I’m not being funny. I received another book in yesterday’s mail that I have promised to review.
I’ve used all the time management helps. I’ve read Steven Covey and others. I have a Daytimer, a Google calendar, an Outlook Calendar (at the above day job), an iPhone, a Blackberry (again, day job) and a Moleskin book.
Some days I think I’d be better off with a legal pad and a watch.
I don’t do well with down time. On those rare occasions when I sit down in front of the television, I’m multi-tasking, either drawing or writing or reading. Because, if I don’t, and sometimes if I do, I’ll fall asleep.
I still won’t make it up at 5:00 a.m.
Maybe I’m feeling the pressure because my current show will open and close in the next three and a half weeks (It’s only a five performance run). But I combine that with being in the middle of one of my biggest writing assignments of the year.
Then I read on Craigslist an ad from a company that wants a writer to commit to five 700-word articles a week. But you only get the subject matter 24 hours in advance.
I may be insane, but I’m not stupid. No serious writer would accept that challenge. At least not at the price they’re offering.
Many writing advice experts tell you that to write you have to unplug. That’s not easy. Stephen King says you basically have to shut out the world.
Tell that to the cat that “needs” to be fed every 37 seconds.
Sure the cat can be booted out the door (calm down, he’s a hunter). But I also live in a house where I’m often the only one who can go to bed and sleep soundly until the alarm goes off. Or until I’m reminded that I shouldn’t have had that last cup of coffee. That means it’s rarely “quiet.”
All of this is to say that time is precious and that it shouldn’t be wasted.
I’ll never have enough time to do everything I want or need to do.
I suppose the wise amongst us would say that I have to become more familiar with the “No” word. But, what’s the fun in that?
I can see the value and purpose in everything I do. Even, in their own way, Words with Friends and Pinterest. But maybe I need to limit them.
I only check Pinterest in the evenings. Often only after I’ve pinned an article I’ve written. And I no longer respond to Words with Friends immediately when someone makes a play. Turning off Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Foursquare notifications on the phone also helps…when I do it.
In a perfect world, I’d be able to get up read for a while, go to the gym, come home and write and then take nap. Successful authors do that. At least some of them.
But we don’t life in a perfect world. And some day I’m gonna have a little chat with Adam and Eve about that. Thanks a lot, guys.
For now, I look for windows of time that allow me to write.
Which is what I should be doing right now.