After so many days, and months it seemed, that today, I finally had a bit of time on my hands to do what ever it is that I wanted to do. And instead of using this window of opportunity to bring out the notebooks and work on any one of the three novels I’m slowly working on, or comb out my second novel as per the editors suggestions, I spent the day cleaning, tidying, painting – in other words, doing the everyday menial chores.
This has me thinking as I sit here, what do I want to write? The funny thing is, today, I want to write about the dilemmas of struggling writers. As silly as this sounds, we seem to be lacking, possess so little of, and are constantly trying to find more Time in our everyday. It’s a commodity that is very hard to get a hold of when we are holding down a ‘paying job’, keeping our daily lives running, or whatever it is that we need to do. Till when? Till that little light in the horizon, that lifeline of success pulls our drowning selves from the business of daily life and catapults us into a place where we can take our time and bathe in the bliss of actually having plenty of time to write. Until that absolute gorgeous and heart palpitating moment, we must perceiver to achieve.
But how can we achieve our deepest desire to be recognised in what we do when we spend so much time fretting over the simple things in life?
If writing was easy, I’m sure we could find at least one hour from our day, but from the moment we wake up till the moment we slip into bed, we are busy: work, clean, catch up with family and friends, social-network. By the end, we are tired. And at that time, even picking up a pen and paper, or turning on the laptop drains, because you know you are not relaxed enough to think about the story and feather it out. You KNOW that what you write in that moment will not be the best, nor what you intended to write. Of course, there are times when these are the moments that lead to a more organic flow which are like hitting a goldmine, but these moments are so few and far between.
So what should we do?
Learn to find some writing time, or time outs and train ourselves to write. It doesn’t matter what we write about, or how long or short it is, just write! Stop chasing time. Time is something we can never hold still, catch and trap, or make more of. Instead, learn how to run with time, and find that little patch in a day when you can just sit there and let your fingers do the thinking.
I used to be obsessed about chasing time when I was younger and working on my first novel. I was a teenager, and as a typical teenager, I wasn’t as disciplined about my writing as I am now. Instead of having regular writing time, I used to carry a notebook and a pen everywhere I went, and I mean everywhere. Even if I was in my house, I’d carry those two items with me from room to room. Wherever I was, they were with me, resulting in stares and glares. I would be writing in classes while teachers taught, I’d write in lunch breaks, or while watching TV, or huddled in bed, praying sleep to keep at bay till I finished the paragraph or the scene I was working on. I’d write when the mood struck me – sometimes within hours, and most times, weeks and months. It took me 4 and a half years to write ‘The End’ on that story, but I did discover that I was obsessively thinking about the story despite times of disinterest in writing.
Nowadays, I find that my obsession doesn’t take over my life where I am carrying a notebook and pen from kitchen to dining, to bedroom, but I am finding that I am eating into my resting time, or sleep time, staying up beyond midnight to write. I find that the stillness of the night at this time allows me to write without distractions. This is perhaps not a very healthy option, however, this is much more productive chasing of time than before. I guess practice does make better, though I’m far away from perfectly mastering time.
I guess the day is yet to come when I can sit down during the day and learn how to manage distractions…but at least for today, I’ve chased and caught up with time and done my bit. I still have a couple of hours till midnight…
(Image: “Old Time” courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)