Time Thief

I like “The Art of War for Writers” by James Scott Bell. He has several writing books I find exceptionally useful, and I’ve read quite a few writing books by various authors. His are always on point and full of practical information I wish I had ten years ago.

I often re-read sections of my favorite writing books. There are always nuggets of wisdom you inevitably forget. Re-reading is a great way to remind ourselves and continuously learn and strive to be better. I flip through pages, checking out my old comments and underlined text. Sometimes I type up notes from the book and print them out so I can refer to them later.

Today this stood out from chapter 61:

“Become a snatcher of time, and maybe you”ll hit 700 books, too.” 

“…find ways to snatch the occasional chunk of writing time. It all adds up.”

Today this really spoke to me. It’s 10PM and I’m desperately waiting for the baby to go to sleep so I can have uninterrupted writing time. He doesn’t think it’s a good idea to fall asleep on his own and would rather have me cuddled next to him. Unfortunately this isn’t a good arrangement for writing. I can manage to peck at my keyboard with him in my arms for a little while until I give up.

Today was not a good day for writing period. The three kids did not sleep at the same time during nap time, the baby was super clingy, and we had a terrible ordeal yesterday that involved my daughter experiencing a febrile seizure, a doctor visit, and us having to tend to her sick self. Feeling chests for fevers, doling out medicine, making her comfortable and watching her with new paranoia lest she start convulsing again and send me into shock over my scariest parenting moment ever to date. That kind of messes up my writing mojo too.

And when I can’t “snatch time” for writing, I’m an anxious, cranky mess.

I have to remember that some days snatching crumbs of time might be all I can manage. Those crumbs will add up. I can’t stress out and waste negative emotion trying to control something that can’t be controlled.

I’ll admit just knowing that I should appreciate the little bits of time isn’t enough for me, so I created a template where I can log my writing efforts–big or small–to have something tangible to remind myself.

As always, it’s a work in progress. I feel like I’m constantly fine-tuning routines and strategies and goals, but when your life is busy and you have a young family it seems to be the only way. At least it has been the only way for me.

James Scott Bell suggests mapping out your time and figuring out where you have availability to “steal” time. I’m going to give it a try and be more strategic about taking back any time that may be unnecessarily wasted.

Time thief in training. That’s on the agenda this week.

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