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The Clock Is Ticking
by Kathryn Lay
I've taught my daughter that there are certain
four-letter words that isn't polite talk. And yet, there is one word that often
leaves a nasty taste in my mouth, a word that is both frightening and
compelling. It's a word that gnaws at a writer's soul. It can give power or
I never have enough of this four-letter word. It
often is an obsession. Time. It fills my do-lists, pushes me along, challenges
me when I have enough, terrifies me when I don't.
Writer friends and students in my classes
complain "if I had more time I'd..." or "Later, when my time is more free
And oh, how quickly that times flies and we're
still hoping and looking for more of it so we can reach our dreams and
I have a list of writing goals for this year.
Magazines I'd like to break into, books I'd like to complete...or start,
brochures to undertake, information to learn. In between all those desires I
still must find time to home school my daughter, help co-direct a large
volunteer English school for refugees and immigrants, teach two online writing
courses, attend a weekly critique group, work on various writing assignments,
spend time with family and friends...and so on.
Everyone is busy. So how can we find a bit of
extra time to attack our own writing fantasies?
Time can't be built, bought, sold, or rented. It
has to be made, found, and borrowed from.
Dieters are told to make lists of what they eat,
in order to see what they are putting into their bodies. People in debt are
asked to list how and where they spend their money.
If you make a list of your time, where will you
find your emphasis? Where can you borrow time from to see your writing dreams
fulfilled? Television? The Internet? Housecleaning? Chatting on the
I recently edited and rewrote a short article
while in the car (not as the driver) on a trip to Austin for family fun. It was
done by the time I got there and forgotten. Another article was outlined while
waiting at the doctor's office. A query drafted while my daughter took a test
during home schooling. I find that if I give up 30 minutes of television, I've
got a chapter written, a quick draft of a story or article, or a couple of
reprints submitted. I came up with an idea on the way to my daughter's haircut
appointment, wrote it while during her appointment, rewrote and typed it,
emailed and got an acceptance all in the same day.
Time is precious. Once it's gone, there is not
getting it back. Money can be re-earned, knowledge relearned, but time comes
around only once and is never reused, only replaced with different
We cant get time back, but we can sneak up on
it before its gone.
1. What are your time wasters? Which ones can
you and are you willing to change for your writing? Watch one less television
program or turn off the phone for an hour? Stop playing computer games when
youre afraid to write? Pick one and youve gained time every day.
2. Where do you have extra time that is normally
spent talking on your cell phone or staring into space? Waiting for doctor
appointments? Sitting in traffic jams or car pool lines?
3. What can you do to use those extra time
snippets? Purchase a small recorder to carry with you? Keep an idea pad in
your purse or pocket or car and pull it out when there is time to mull over a
new article or story line?
Take control of your time rather than letting
time, or a lack thereof, control you.
So, what WOULD you do if you had more
Go and do it. It's time.
© Copyright 2003, Kathryn Lay
Kathryn Lay is the author of 26 books for children, over 2000 articles, essays and stories for children and adults and the book from AWOC.COM Publishing, The Organized Writer is a Selling Writer. Check out her website at www.kathrynlay.com and email through email@example.com
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