Writer Manufactured Time

That sucking of air you just heard was the sound of relief now that summer is finally over.

The “day job” seasonal madness is pretty much behind us. I can’t imagine being as busy as we were this summer all year round. The thought of it is staggering, but it’s also something I’ll probably not have to worry about. The kids are going back to school next week and we can take a collective breath and use September to catch up.

This is not to say that my time-sucking day job eliminated any possibilities for writing. As a writer, I’m finding it necessary to carve out stretches of time for myself to devote to the craft.

In addition to the various articles written for Blog Critics and Associated Content, I have sped along on my chick-lit-y novel and then was waylaid by an idea tossed out by my friend and constant writer’s nag, the Fluffy Little Cat. Out of our conversation was born another novel on the same story, a YA tale as told by the daughter.

This one’s been fun, and I’ve already tested out Chapter One on my niece, who happens to be “that” age. She gave it a thumbs up and wants to read more. (Ah, the silent sound of applause… just enough encouragement to keep me going.)

And I am finding more and more that writing is a craft, not one to be taken lightly. I have many good ideas and can easily write on the fly, off the top of my head so it seems, but to hone those ideas and make them perfect? That’s what I need to achieve.

I recently read the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. He’s the one that examines the 10,000 hour rule. The 10,000 hour rule is the theory that in order to do anything well, one needs to devote that amount of time to the endeavor. It equals about 20 hours per week for ten years.

It makes sense for musicians, athletes, actors, journeymen carpenters, why not for writing?

Unfortunately for me, I started late and I have a lot of catching up to do. My problem is that there is no way on God’s green earth that I can find 20 unadulterated, quiet hours a week to write, not with my schedule. If I can find two hours a day, it’s a momentous occasion worthy of celebrating with pitchers of margaritas.

Back to the busy summer: despite the rigors of a new internet platform on the “day job,” the daughter home from college, and a shortage help, I make the time to write.

I leave for home early, I shop online so I don’t have to run to stores. I try to budget my play time and make use of what’s left over, extremely difficult for a world-class procrastinator like me.

It’s tough, it’s brutal, it’s not easy, but it’s the only way. It’s the Yellow Brick Road from wannabe to writer.


4 Responses

  1. you GO, girl! I’m so proud of you! 🙂

  2. Joanne, the headline caption caught me. The 10,000 hour rule sounds absolutely correct. Remembering to the years when my son wanted to be in a rock band he practiced 4 hours a day for a few years but then….he gave it up. Absolutely writing is a craft, I would liken it to drawing/painting. I don’t do them myself but again, having an artist in the family as well I know that time spent on his work was essential.
    I love the beginning of this article (which is what caught me at first). I wonder if there is an evolutionary pattern to this “crazy summer madness”. I feel that way all summer, PACK all these activities in now because we’ll be hibernating soon. I can see by my friends posts this is true for them as well, so many end of summer activities. I am always so saddened when summer ends because it is truly my favorite kick back time of year. Kick back as in wearing flip flops, pool time, being barefoot, drinking a cold beer after yard work etc.. However I am exhausted when Labor Day comes and a part of me wants that cold weather and the time to be able to “chill out” per say. Good article. Pat

  3. Thanks, Little Kitty. You are going to be sick of me if I ever become published, because I’m going to dedicate everything to you. 🙂

    Pat, summer is nuts! But I can still do things in the winter, despite SAD and snow, both of which I could live without. Things take a turn to indoor activities like making jewelry and my violin (sorely neglected this summer, I’m such a slacker).

  4. The 10,000 hour rule sounds about right. But don’t forget that if along the way you don’t enjoy yourself, then that’s not good. Writing, like anything else, is only good as long as you are enjoying yourself and if you are enjoying yourself, then making time to write should not be a problem. You’ll want to write more than anything else.

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