Writing requires concentration. Fortunately this is something I have been blessed with. I’ve always been able to sit in a room with the TV blaring, kids running to and fro, my wife asking me to take out the trash, and I have it all shut out. I could do this to the extent that my daughter would come up and put a little hand on each cheek, turn my head to look me full in the face and say, “Daddy?” In this way she would insure she had my full attention before continuing on.
The kids are no longer a diversion, of course, as they are grown and I don’t do this with grandkids as their visits are too rare and not to be wasted. So this means now I have nothing to divert me from writing, right?
Wrong. The election was a major diversion, occupying more of my thought process than I really had to give to it. I suppose some lingering concern still does. Studying about the impact of economic problems on publishing for a program at the conference in Glorieta and again at the Heart of America Conference in Kansas City coming up took a lot of time. (you can read the results at http://terryburns.net/Publishing_and _the_Economy.htm ) I have some other programs to work up for the KC conference as well.
I said something to Saundra while ago about someone mentioning Christmas coming up. She said “Since you aren’t working you can do more of the shopping this year.” I blew a fuse. “Not working? Is that what you think?” Just because I don’t go to an office any more people tend to think I don’t work. I suppose everybody that works from home has this, but my own wife? I actually work more hours, not less, starting around 7am and usually going well into the evening with various diversions taking chunks out of it. And those diversions are what’s on my mind today.
There’s no shortage of them. Email and writing lists can be huge diversions but are necessary for the visibility that I need, plus that’s how I do business, how submissions come in to me. It’s how most editors contact me and how I send material to them. I have to keep a close eye on email. I spend a great deal of time just working the marketplace, looking for opportunities for my clients. There are errands to run, things around the house to do, checking on mom every day (she’s 95) and a Brittany Spaniel that insures that I get up periodically.
OK, so the agent gig is not really a diversion but my job. There still has to be a conscious choice between blocks of time for doing it and protecting time for writing and editing. The biggest chore allocating time there is finding the time to do a full manuscript read as I don’t like to do them in pieces. The author hopes I keep reading because if I stop they probably aren’t going to like the results.
There’s a lot more, I don’t work on Sunday of course, but you get the idea. I can hear the voices out there, all of you working moms saying “Poor baby, and you think that’s a lot?” I know, I know, it’s even harder for you. The bottom line is there is NEVER time for anyone to write just sitting there unused. There are always diversions. Saundra and mom are very good about helping me protect my writing time and I know not everyone has that support.
Time management is the key. We have all the time we’re going to have, we won’t be issued more. We have to allot time to do the things in our life and while doing that we have to carve out time for writing and protect it as if it were the Holy Grail. We have to be so insistent about the importance of the time that other people “get it” and help make it happen. I hope that is happening now in your writing life.
Now its time to go take the dog for a walk.