This is part 2 in my 11,789 part series on writing stuff. Today I’m going to talk to you about time management. The first thing I want you to do, (depending on where you live on this planet. And I say 'this planet' because I could have readers in the Cuellar System), is to take your watch and turn it back an hour. If you don’t know what a watch is, and I mean a real watch, not a digital clock or phone, its a little mechanical device that likely has letters set in a circular pattern instead of electronic numbers. I was going to say cell phone, but because with most people you no longer need to make that distinction, unless you are 50 years old or older, most of you don’t have a house phone. If you do have a house phone, it’s only because it was part of a package deal with your internet/cable service and it made your monthly bill cheaper to get the phone service and the only time you pick it up is when somebody calls to try to scam you into donating money to the firefighter’s ball or a bill collector is trying to reach the phone number’s previous owner. If you have my previous number, then that’s probably the case and it’s me the bill collector is calling about. Let’s face it; I am a writer and an artist and as such, my name is, for the time being, only associated with notoriously bad credit. I suppose that will change one day, but for now, as an active struggling artist, I reserve the right to be impoverished. If you do get a collections call, talk to the person in a fake foreign language. They love that!
[BTP]. For my first time readers BTP = back to point. So now that you’ve set your clock back an hour, you have completed your first lesson in time management. (Here in Devil’s Tookus, California, we partake in the annual nonsensical tradition of Day-light Savings Time. Essentially it’s the government’s way of demonstrating it’s power over the populace). If you followed my instructions, you now have your clocks set back to normal time and you have officially bucked the system. Stick to it. You are an independent free-thinker. When you go to work tomorrow and your boss tells you that you’re late, tell him…tell him…um… “No I’m not,” and say that you read that it was okay to set clocks back on a blog you found while cruising the web on the company computer and that you are now a free thinker.
Now that you have been fired, you will have a lot more free time. But the thing about having free stuff is that people always want what is free. Whether it be buy one get one free at Payless shoes, or free samples of Fire-Cracker Shrimp at that Chinese restaurant that I’m pretty sure serves the flesh of Panda bears and disguises it as Mandarin chicken, or your time, people will want it. People even wanted my book RISE OF THE PENGUINS when I offered it for free.
Here’s a little secret: the truth is that now that you are a writer, you don’t actually have a lot of free time. Writing is a real job. Writing takes work. Lots of work. And I’m going to tell you something else, the hordes of time stealing zombies who come to feed on the brains of your abundant time, all of who have no idea of the amount of very real effort that goes into creating a novel or short story or poetry, will view you being a writer as a cute little hobby you do to avoid a real job. And unless you hammer out a novel and immediately reach the success of authors that they are familiar with like King, Rowling, Patterson or Steel, they will not see you as having a real job. And to be honest, I doubt they will even if you do hit the Power Ball of writing and become a household name.
The time eating zombies won’t come at you all at once and you do have the power to stop them. It will start small. Stuff like, if you take a break from your writing, can you go to the store and get this or that? And you’ll do it, because you feel guilty about doing something that others don’t view as work. You say yes because even you doubt that it is real work because it is so damn fun. So you feel guilty and run to the store and get those all-important pizza pockets and paper towels. Let me ask you this: Would you call a bank-teller in the middle of a transaction and ask her to stop what she is doing and go buy cheese? Or stop a firefighter while he’s fighting a fire and ask him to pick up the kids from someplace? The answer is no.
In case you didn’t notice, I just gave you your weapon to fight the time eating zombies. It’s “NO.” That’s right—two little letters, en and oh, strung together to form the small yet powerful word--ON. (wait, that’s wrong...jeez). The weapon is NO! NO! NO!
“Can you go to the—”
“Will you pick up some—”
“Will you help me undress?”
“NO! I mean YES! Wait…what?”
Okay so there are times when the zombies aren’t so bad. And I’m not saying that you should close yourself off from the world and only write. After all, you need to experience the world in order to write about it. Just help out when you can, but set your own work schedule and stick to it as much as possible. And tell the zombies that you’re working during that time. View yourself as a writer first and maybe, just maybe, others will fall in line. Not likely, but there’s a chance.
I hope our little chats help. Feel free to ask any questions or make a comment.
Join me next time when I talk about Writer’s cramps and making sure the chair you sit in has decent air-flow.