~stolen time


Something I seem to have precious little of, at least to call my own. It slips through my fingers, a stream flowing into the ocean of the past, never to be recovered.

I sell most of my time. My employer buys the biggest chunk of it for the cold hard cash necessary to keep a roof over my head and eat regularly. It’s a fair exchange, and one I shouldn’t complain about in this day and age of joblessness and uncertainty. But I sure wish I could figure out how to sell just a little less of it.

Trading my time with others is another avenue of loss. In my critique group, we trade reading time to help one another learn and grow. It’s also a fair exchange, for how can I expect someone to give me feedback on my writing without offering the same in return?

I tend to be selfish with the amount of time that is left, reserving it for writing and all the things that go along with trying to get published. My horses whinny at me as I go to and from the house, their voices questioning why I no longer spend hours grooming and riding them. Hobbies I once obsessed over, such as scrapbooking and costuming, gather dust as projects sit neglected in corners. Fan conventions and renfaires no longer fill my calendar – a calendar that tells lies with its emptiness.

I’m fortunate that my husband supports my writing efforts. He shares my frustrations when I cry at the end of a weekend because the writing or editing that I’d planned to do kept getting bumped to the bottom of the list, falling off of it completely when the clock strikes midnight on Sunday.

One of my biggest time-sucks is blogging. But I’ve found it necessary to my growth as a writer. I’ve learned a tremendous amount about writing and publishing from the other writers, agents, and editors who blog. Hopefully my investment of time in the blogosphere will pay off and bring me closer to a publishing deal.

So I’m at a loss on how to gain more time to actually write. For now, I steal it – some from the time I should be spending with my husband and animals, other bits from my neglected  friendships.

But mostly – I steal it from my sleep. And that’s hard on the body and the mind, and night after night of less than 6 hours of rest really takes its toll.

How about you? Where does your writing time come from? Is it yours to do whenever you wish, or do you have to squeeze it in between work and family? Or are you like me, stealing it from precious sleep and cringing at its cost when you peer into the mirror the next morning.

I’d like to hear from some of you about how you manage your writing time. And perhaps we’ll exchange comments and bemoan our lack of time while writing beneath the bright light of the moon.

5 thoughts on “~stolen time

  1. Ooooo, good question. Welllll, I have to say that I’m pretty lucky when it comes to the work hours. I make my own or work in an office by myself, so when there’s nothing to do, I write. I also live in fear of my boss strolling in unannounced, but that’s rare.

    Other than that, the evenings and weekends when my husband and son are otherwise entertained with something that I have no interest in.

    It sounds like I have a lot of time, but in the end, it does take from sleep time:(

    1. Thanks for commenting, Misty! It’s interesting to see how others manage their writing in their busy schedules. Strolling bosses might be adding an edge or element of suspense to your writing that you are unaware of!

  2. I tend to go to work a little early, just in case of an accident or road construction, and that gives me 15 minutes. I use 40 minutes of my lunch. Sometimes I stay in during my afternoon break. Then I stay after work for 15 to 20 minutes to avoid rush. On good days, when my wife and son go to bed earlier than I need to, I will get a hour or so more to work. I can’t seem to edit in little blocks of time like that, but I can write or critique. I am going to lose that time soon to studies.

    Editing is rough. I have to cut into family time for that. I have to have a large amount of time when I’m fresh and sharp.

    1. I used to be able to do a little critiquing on lunch or breaks, but that changed with my new job duties. And writing or editing? No, I can’t do that for short periods of time. I tend to go ‘into the zone’ when I do either, and being interrupted or having to stop before I’ve completed a section is way too frustrating.

  3. Ah, Roh, I’m feeling guilty. I’ve been given a golden opportunity to write and paint and edit….and I’m wasting my precious time on silly stuff. Sometimes TOO MUCH time can be as debilitating as too little. I saw the same thing happen to Ed when he was on unemployment…and now that he’s in the “no time” category again, he wishes he’d spent that time more effectively.

    You’re inspiring me, though…I feel the inspiration bubbling down there…soon it will come forth in effulgent words of surpassing beauty!

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