Time. How much is it worth to you? From the perspective of someone that would like to complete a novel, it’s worth more than a pot of gold. Get it? Pot of gold. It’s St. Patty’s day. Okay, well I had to work it in somehow. Truthfully, I didn’t even realize it was a holiday until a few moments ago. In fact, I’ve had a difficult time the past couple of months even remembering what day of the week it is. Time seems to be slipping away. It’s being eaten by the monster that chases me relentlessly, going so far as to follow me into my dreams.
The monster in question is called work. There is no escape. That light at the end of the tunnel is actually a freight train headed straight for me. It’s running on a set of tracks called The Deadline. For the past six weekends, including this one, I’ve devoted the majority of my time to completing a high priority project for work. The project itself is fun, and it’s something that I love to do. Given the opportunity, I would do it full time (just throwing that out there in case my boss is visiting the site). I won’t bore you with the specifics, but it includes graphic design, video, animation and narration. Using all my favorite software programs such as Adobe After Effects, Premiere, PhotoShop, Flash and others has been great. But it takes time. A lot of time. My daily duties as an IT Geek also require a heavy dose of attention. So, when will there be enough time to write that novel? That’s a question I keep asking myself.
While it’s true that you can write anywhere, at some point you actually have to sit in front of the computer and type it out. Perhaps my goal of posting at least six short stories before the end of the year was a bit naive. I finished the first draft of one of these stories in January and sent it to my beta readers. Their input was invaluable, but I’ve had little free time to revise and edit it. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Rush, come on dude, it’s a short story. How hard can it be to edit?” I can assure you that it’s not flash fiction. The finished story will probably top 10k words. This may be a simple edit job for those that have time, but right now it’s going to take more time than I have this month, and that bothers me. As for the novel, it’s been over two days since I’ve even looked at it, and that really bothers me.
One of the things that held me back for many years was the lack of time to write. Last year I found that it was possible to work on the novel in my head during the day, then write it down at night. Many people do that I’ve found, but it was an epiphany for me. With that insight and a new determination, I started on the novel I’ve always wanted to write. It was going so well that I even decided to work on a book of short stories at the same time. And then the monster of all projects showed up on my doorstep, cute and cuddly at first, then a bit more demanding as days turned into weeks. While there’s no doubt that I’ll finish the project well within the deadline, I’m somewhat shaken that it’s thrown my writing rhythm off balance.
This seems like a good time to point out that my wife is a saint. There should probably be a support group for spouses of writers. Even though the projects for work are eating into my writing time, I still try to squeeze in a few hours of the day for family. My wife knows me well enough to sense when I’m distracted though. She also knows me well enough to pinpoint the distraction. “Go write,” she says. I give her a gentle kiss and feel guilty as hell, but I do what she tells me. I go write.