Sunday, February 03, 2008

Where Did the Time Go?

I guess you have about the same number of hours in the day as I do - 24. Doesn't seem enough, most days, does it? I often wish for 28 or 30. But it's not going to happen anytime soon, and while I have had short periods of time over the past 6-7 weeks where I have been able to stay home and write (as opposed to going to work to earn money and NOT write), I've been thinking a lot about what happens to me when I do go to work. And do my 7 hours or so.

With all good intentions to come home and have a cup of tea and then buckle down to writing, what has happened is I come home and collapse into a comfy chair and my brain shuts down. I think the 6-7 weeks of some weeks at work and some weeks off (making up for the fact that I had to start back on 1 January while others were still cavorting, or camping, or chilling out) has given me a really good picture of my writing life. Or non-writing life.

I'm as clever as the next writer in coming up with excuses why I'm not writing. I was digging a ditch. I haven't been sleeping well. I had to clean the fridge. But all excuses aside, what I have seen in the past weeks is that when I have spent 7 hours at work, I don't write when I come home. Partly this is because I do spend 7 hours working. I have a part-time job, with a lot of things that have to get done, so we don't have lunch hours, for example. We have lunchtime meetings while we eat. Bad work practice, I know, but we are all part-timers and our department gets more done than most others with full-time staff. It helps that we love what we do, and we want to do it really well.

But it does mean that when I get home after a full day, I am stuffed. Maybe I'm getting old. Whatever. That's the reality. My brain says NO.
But right now, I am working on a revision of a novel that is important to me. It's working, it's developing, it's deepening. I can't afford to let the ball drop right now. I don't want to lose the momentum and the sense of being right inside this story and the characters. But I head back to work tomorrow, with no more time off in sight.

So, after some thought, I have decided that on the days I work (three of them each week, on average) I will have to get up very early and spend at least an hour on my revision before I go to work. I don't function exceptionally well before 7am, but it will be a lot better than being brain-dead at 5pm. It helps that my husband has just had his work hours changed and he'll be up at the same time (we'll fight for the shower first - something has to wake me up!). I may not last. I'm not a good morning person. But this is what has to happen for me to keep this revision humming along. Stay posted. I may, as my mother used to say, end up running off screaming into the bush.

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