It’s a construct of man, created so we can measure the passage of our lives. The universe doesn’t care about time. God didn’t care about time until his exploits were recorded for all to read — he had no idea his resting took place on the seventh day (though I suspect he realized it was the eighth day when he created rock ‘n roll).
The one thing we all have in common when it comes to time is this: there never seems to be enough. There are always other things to do, so I know my struggles in this arena aren’t unique, but it is an ongoing dilemma for the struggling writer, the guy who isn’t making enough money from his passion to do it full time. Let me illustrate:
Time dilemma #1 – get some sleep or get up and write like a good little author. Many mornings my alarm goes off at 5am and the debate begins in my head: indulge my tiredness by staying in bed, snuggling up to my wife and dealing with the guilt of not writing later or get the hell up and do it. You can imagine which side wins far too often when the debate is held in a nice, warm bed while snuggled up to my wife (and those of you who know my wife certainly understand this dilemma).
Time dilemma #2 – when I sit down at the computer, what do I write? Like most authors, I have a number of projects in various stages — 2 completed novels that beg me to edit and re-edit them until they’re published, each of them with a sequel which is between 1/3 and 1/2 written. Add to that 3 other novels begun, 5 others in planning stages, short story ideas which jump out from the shadows at any moment (the latest idea involves a sex doll… that’s all I can say), and a desire to learn to write a screenplay, and the choices get a little thick. But I have to fit them all in somewhere. Oh, and did I mention I’m writing a blog now, too? Gotta find time for that.
Time dilemma #3 – promotion. Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Sribd, Shelfari and that old dinosaur MySpace. It seems another social networking site pops up everytime I log on to that inter-web thing. If you don’t become part of the network, who’s going to buy your books when they’re published? How will they even know? How did we survive without these sites? I remember when our only way of promotion was to tie a copy of the manuscript to the leg of the family’s pet dinosaur and send it visiting — at least that’s what my 9 year-old daughter thinks.
Time dilemma #4 – Everything else. Family, home, work, cleaning, doing the dishes, ironing shirts. I’m going to end the list there because it’s already making me feel a little overwhelmed (why is it we get overwhelmed, we can be under-whelmed, but I’ve never had this conversation: “How are you?”, “Whelmed”. Poor whelmed, perhaps the English language’s most under-used word. And yes, I looked it up: it’s a word).
So how does the struggling writer deal with all these varied necessities (and we didn’t even talk about the distractions: watching movies, talking to people, having sex, eating…)? Like everyone else does, I guess: as best I can. I spend some days tired and grumpy, others I spend rested and feeling a little guilt. And I tell myself that one day it will all get better, that one day I’ll be a full-time writer, but that all I can in the meantime is give it every spare moment of blood, sweat and tears.
Until then, if anyone figures out how to add time to their day or operate without sleep, please let me know.