Well, if you’re a writer, time has a way of twisting itself into a set of never ending challenges. Too often, writers can feel like time is the enemy. It’s the faceless black demon hovering in the shadows. It savours the pain it inflicts on the unsuspecting writer with a disturbing joy…
Sounds a bit dramatic, doesn’t it? Actually, I don’t think so. Here’s why:
Time problem #1: the day-to-day, just can’t get enough…
There’s simply not enough hours in the day. Too many of us have to squeeze our writing in around full or part-time work, looking after children, study, family commitments and basically, life. The result is that time feels like it’s this elusive beast we’re constantly in pursuit of, who expertly disappears around the corner just as we catch sight of him.
Time problem #2: the endless waiting
It’s rather ironic that on one hand we’re constantly pining for more time in our day to get our writing done, yet when we have to endure the pain of the submission process or entering your manuscript in competitions, time feels like it lasts forever. Turnaround times for submission replies usually run into the months. With time, the manuscript that seemed so burning, so ‘right now,’ ebbs into a distant memory. Sure, you put a lot of work into it at the time, but now the months (or possibly years) have passed trying to get it out there, you’re on to a new story idea which you’re certain, this time, will be a winner…
Time problem #3: blink and you miss it
Before you know it, you’ve dedicated years to your writing ambition. If you’re lucky, you’ll have something to show for it: a few finished books, maybe you’re even published. Or perhaps you’ve got a bunch of almost there manuscripts sitting in your bottom drawer? Either way, the writing bug you’ve caught eats time like cookie monster puts away cookies. You find it hard to believe that you’ve been working at it so long. Where did that time go?
How to grab time by the horns and ride into the sunset
Whichever time problem you’re currently facing (most likely a combination of all of them), there is hope for the dedicated writer. It’s all about attitude, action and ambition:
Attitude: time? Bah! Big deal. it’s only time. So what if it takes me a bit longer to get that manuscript finished? Or it takes years to get published? It will happen. All in good time. In short, don’t let time dig its nails in. Keep relaxed! Time hates it when you do that. It will probably give up and go and annoy some other poor, unsuspecting, anxious writer…
Action: make every minute and hour count whenever you can grab them. It’s true there’s only twenty-four hours in a day, but even if you only manage to spend an hour or two most days working on your manuscript–bit by bit, little by little–it will emerge from your hard drive as something that starts to resemble a book. How did that happen? You made time count.
Ambition: time hates ambition. It gets in the way of its cunning antics. Writers who are ambitious use time to their advantage (see action above). But it’s more than that. They hold onto a long term view. Writers with a long term view accept and understand success takes time, while making every day count.
How about you? As a writer, do you find time is your enemy and what tactics do you use to overcome it?