Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Few Thoughts About Time

We just painted our living room. To make the job go faster, we moved all the furniture into another room. This meant I had to remove the books from the shelves to lighten the load – not a job I looked forward to. It turned out to be an unexpected pleasure though. I came across books that, while I hadn’t forgotten them, I hadn’t thought about them in a long time. Some were old favorites that I couldn’t resist dipping into. I won’t go on about this since, if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably a book lover and already know exactly how that went (and have a pretty fair idea of how much time it took).

More to the point are the books that prompted no memory at all. These are the books that I’m ashamed to admit I’ve had for years and still haven’t read. One of them is Time Management for the Creative Person by Lee Silber. That’s definitely a book I should read, so I put it aside with a promise to myself that I would … you know what’s coming … read it when I can find time.

Find time. What a silly concept – as if time is something you’ll find – like dust bunnies under the bed – or, in this case, behind the bookcase. Browsing through the pages of that particular volume, I came across this statement:

“Some people accomplish nothing, then stop to rest.”

And a little further along:

“One trivial task usually leads to another.”

And here’s one every mother will identify with:

“You get caught up in somebody’s else’s schedule.”

Mr. Silber obviously understands the problem. Does he have an answer to it? I don’t know. I’ll let you know when/if I find time to read the whole book. Needless to say, it took me much too long to get that bookcase emptied – and it wasn’t because there was insufficient time.

It’s not hard to translate this to my writing life. If I would just use each minute of each day wisely, there would be time enough to turn every idea that pops into my head into a very lengthy book. I have to wonder though, if I had no idle time, when these ideas would pop. Most of my ideas appear when I'm in the middle of something else. Then I have to find time to write them. So it's really a matter of finding an appropriate balance. And that’s something all of us have to do for ourselves. So maybe I don’t need to read the whole book after all – at least not all at once. I’ll let the bits I’ve read germinate and come back for more when I need them or when I find the time.

Oh, in case you’re wondering why I bought this book – I didn’t. It was given to me by writer friend when she cleaned out her bookshelves. I’ll have to ask her if she read it.


Beate Boeker said...

Great post, Sandy. So funny. I get many good ideas when I brush my teeth. With a mouth full of foam, I have to make sure I don't forget them until I find pen and paper to pin them down. Trivial stuff - oh, yes - it drains away so much energy. I'll try to avoid them more in the future!

Sandy Cody said...

Thanks, Beate. I have to allow myself a certain amount of free time in order to remain sane. However, if I'm not careful, it can become too much of a good thing.

Loretta C. Rogers said...

Oh where oh where did my time go? It went while I was walking the new puppy 3x a day. It went while I was reading emails. Then there was the necessity of preparing lunch, then more emails, then paying bills, talking to my brother on the phone. Midnight arrives and I still haven't worked on my WIP. I have one of those time managements books, too. It's lost under all the stuff I can't find time to organize. Very big sigh!

Sandy Cody said...

Loretta, you're telling the story of my life. Know it could be worse. I could be sitting on a corner, begging for pennies. Have to remember to be grateful.

Ellis Vidler said...

Dipping into old and half-forgotten books is something I can identify with. Too well. Time management, on the other hand, is just some nebulous concept I wish I could grasp. If you find the secret, PLEASE let me know what it is. I really, really need to know.

Sandy Cody said...

Ellis, if I discover that secret, you'll be the first to know ... well, maybe the second ... my husband will want to know too. On the other hand, it might be a bit of a shock to him.

Zelda Benjamin said...

Sounds like a book worth reading.
Mothers do get caught up in everyone else's schedule. We can't use that as an excuse not to write. And, Beate you're right the trivial stuff drains too much energy. I'm also trying not to jot down all those things I want to remember. When I read them later I usually forget why they were so important.

Sandy Cody said...

Zelda, I love the bit about your jotting down notes and then forgetting what they meant. I thought I was the only one who did that.

I think the single greatest eater of time is getting caught up in other people's schedules. But, hey, if it were easy, we wouldn't have anything to write about.

Jane Myers Perrine said...

I save time by NOT reading time management books. (Smile here--I don't know how to do emoticons on this).

This was a really enjoyable post, Sandy. Thank you!

Sandy Cody said...

Thanks, Jane. I don't know how to add emoticoms either or I'd add a smile. Great time-saving idea. Maybe I'll add it as a margin note to my book.