The More Time We Have, the More Time We Waste

The More Time We Have, the More Time We Waste

Why is it that the more time we have, the more time we seem to waste? Then, as that nasty deadline looms, we face crunch time. We don’t eat, bathe, tend to our chores, spend time with our families. All we do is sit at the keyboard until our joints ache and our ankles swell. Oh, to be sure, crunch time sees a fantastic turnout of word count and pages – some even worthy of keeping. But why not spread that production out – you know, that whole work-life balance thing?

Here are some reasons why I waste time:

  1. Afraid of being second best – I’ve been tip-tapping away at the keyboard, working on the “great American novel” for a lot of years now, and I have not one thing to show for it. I mean out in the real world, that is, either through traditional publishing or self-publishing. I’ve been told countless times that I’m my own worst enemy, but really! After all this time, what if my writing is for shit? What if some people are mean to me in their reviews? So I keep on keeping on, tweaking and editing, editing and tweaking. Moving from one project to another, but never actually finishing one. That way I never have to put myself out there. I never have to worry about failing, about negative comments.
  2. Time fills the space I have – If I have 30 minutes to get my blog written and posted, you can bet I’ll pound away until I hit that mark (or come damn close) But what if I have all weekend? Strange how that same 30-minute blog post will actually take all weekend to complete, and it won’t necessarily be better for all the extra time I had.
  3. Grandbaby (the new man in my life) – He’s nine months old now, but I’m still trying to figure out how not to miss one, single development discovery and at the same time manage, you know, to get some actual writing done. I’ll confess to not understanding this grandbaby obsession when I witnessed in others. I mean really? Two a.m. feedings, toys everywhere, and constantly being covered with spit up, snot, pee and poo. Now, seriously. What’s the appeal in any of that? Yeah, yeah. Go ahead and laugh. I deserve it, because I soooooooooooooooooo get it now.
  4. Research and Pinterest – For someone who really doesn’t like research, when I want to know something, I will spend a considerable amount of time surfing the Internet. And my newest Intranet time suck? Pinterest. It’s for my story, mind you. Mostly, I’m hunting for pictures of my characters. To be fair, I have found that my descriptions are much tighter and effective when I work from a picture, but two hours at one sitting? A bit much, IMO.

Anything I’ve ever read about time management stresses the idea of working smarter, not harder. Part of that, I’ve discovered, is setting aside specific blocks of time for certain things that you know are on the horizon. For example, with the WoC deadline looming at the end of this month, I’ve told my family that I’m busy all next week. Each night when I get home from work (except for RWA meeting night – this Tuesday) I will hit the keyboard and plug away until I have my chapters, my outline and my pre-writing notes completed. That gives me two weeks, a few hours each night. Spreading out my goals means that this weekend, I can play with my grandson without guilt.

And when the unexpected pops up? Well, we muddle through the best we can, adjusting our goals as needed. In the business world, that’s called managing expectations. Even though our endeavors are creative in nature, we can learn a lot from business. Off now to get me some baby sugars!

Lorinda Peake

Lorinda Peake wrote her first ditty when she was ten on an English seashore while visiting her British grandmother. From then on, her family either acted in or were treated to plays, skits, or commercial spoofs. In school, she wrote poetry, fables and short stories.

Years later, she tossed down a particularly bad novel and thought, “I could do at least that well.” She’s been pursuing the elusive published novel ever since. Recently, she joined a group of fellow writers who decided to cajole, bully, encourage, and sometimes baby each other along towards the publishing goal by setting real and measurable writing objectives with “motivational” consequences for non-attainment.

Lorinda loves a good romance – all the more if it is wrapped in a great fantasy setting. She lives on the Texas Gulf Coast with her husband of 34 years.

9 thoughts on “The More Time We Have, the More Time We Waste

  1. Good reminders, Lorinda.

    My struggle is less, “What do I find to distract myself with” and more along the lines of, “What the heck should be happening in this scene?” The more I write, the more I realize that my issues crop up when I don’t have a clear vision of my story or know what should happen next for the characters.

    That “not knowing” is a delicate space I’ve been trying to get comfortable with in other areas of my life, and I’ve discovered this year that writing is no different.

    One option is the Jaye Wells’ approach, in which she writes whatever scene is inspiring her in that moment.

    That’s the approach I’ve by necessity had to take with Barbara, whose first draft I’ve been writing in Anne-Marie’s October Obsession in 15-minute increments using Flowstate. Flowstate doesn’t let me stop typing, so I have to be “on” for that 15 minutes, so even though I’m writing scenes out of order, I’m writing fast and furious just to save my work, which in turns gets me the word count.

    But Evelyn is a beast of a different color. As I feel my way through to the resolution of her story, I see the plot lines crystallizing much more clearly now than I did over the summer, which makes it easier to write.

    Now if only I actually had the last two weeks of October to write! 🙂

    Ice dunkingly yours,

    1. This is the first time I remember where you did not have your story (ies) plotted – at least to the Dark Moment. While I like the idea of being a pantser (mainly because I’m lazy), I intrinsically understand the value of plotting. Even with plotting, I find there is much to discover along the journey and MUCH that the girls chose to slip in – so it’s not like there is no joy in discovery.

      Still for me, it is more about time management, which incidentally includes planning to write in the mornings, where I tend to be my most productive.
      Smooches from the Dry Team :o)

      1. The Dry Team can eff off… Respectfully speaking, of course. 🙂

        I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m not going to meet my goal, no matter what excellent reasons I might have, and that even if I were going to make it, the best approach for finishing Evelyn might also be “writing out of order,” at least to write the Dark Moment for her. All roads lead to it, but the danged mules don’t want to pull the wagons into that nasty intersection.

  2. Sandra, I’m right there with you – the Dry Team can eff off!

    It looks like I’ll be on the Dry Team this time around, but only because my team mates wouldn’t let me throw in the towel – even though I tried! TWICE! You guys are the best!

    Life balance – distractions – working to the dark moment – or “I work best under stress” – no matter how you label it, using time efficiently is a daily challenge.

    Lorinda – dear. Some might say that telling your family you are busy ‘next week’ so you can have guilt free grandbaby smooches ‘this week’ – is PROCRASTINATION JUSTIFICATION! Why put it off until next week? Wouldn’t a more efficient schedule put the work first and smooching second?

    I’ve been dunked twice, received a medical exemption once and now, here I am about to ‘earn’ my dry team membership. Honestly, that is going to happen because of SANDRA, and her ability to help each of us learn to work to our strengths (IOLAS much!).

  3. Terri, my dear, dear friend. If the Dry Team can eff off, as you so delicately quoted, why not step over that line to the Wet Team. I will be honored to dump ice over your head once again. What say you? Should we plan on buying an extra bag of ice? ;o)

  4. I think the dry team is a bit to smug! Yes, dear that means YOU! How about some humble appreciation that you were encouraged to change your goal – and you hoodwinked us all into believing you were actually resetting a CHALLENGING goal – when the truth turned out to be that a week after resetting a goal that was supposed to take 3 MONTHS – you were essentially DONE! So, eff off – I’m calling you out!

  5. Oh, woe is me. Terri, you wound me to the quick. As a reminder, you are the first to tote the fact that the challenge is meant to be about encouragement. Not feeling that love, dawling. And I object to the word smug. I would humbly (yes, I’m capable of that trait) suggest exuberant, enthusiastic, optimistic. As to the level of challenge, again I would humbly remind you that my goal was agreed upon by the group. And it was more like two weeks where, like being reunited with an old flame, I went a little crazy (as in happy) being back on my fantasy project, which, as you’ll recall, is where I always wanted to be. From the moment I changed my goals back to the Wind Wall WIP, I was spending two to four hours every weekday and six hours on Saturday and Sunday getting my notes in order, working on my outline, and rewriting from scratch the three chapters I committed to. That’s roughly 22+ hours per week on top of full time job, a grandson, and life in general. Of course, I could not maintain that pace, and so the remainder of the two and half mouths that will end this week has been spent rewriting, honing my prewriting notes and working more solidly on my outline. As of this writing, I have not yet made my goal, but I’m so enjoying my time on this project, that my confidence level is still high. Now go write your paltry five pages, and then talk to me about challenging. Boo-ya – Back at ya!

  6. Okay, I’ll just come right out and say it – I AM SO PROUD OF YOU AND THRILLED that you have found the love in your old love – so to speak! Now, thinking about your last comment to me apropos your posting for the week – perhaps something should be said for the more excited we are for a project, the more time we find for said project. POUND OUT THOSE PAGES BABY – it is passed time you share your stories with the world!


    So what if not everyone gets what you write? So what if some jerkwad says nasty things about your story online. (Let’s see that jerkwad write a 100K word epic masterpiece!) You love this story. We love this story. Write the damn thing and set it loose.

    Books are like kids. We do the best we can while we have them, but that time has to be finite. Eventually, we have to release them into the wild and pray we’ve given them strong enough roots to stand on their own. Generally, the time line with kiddos is 20 years, give or take. You and I are coming alarmingly close to working on our stories longer than our kids. Yikes!

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