I’m writing this in response to my friend Chris’s comment at Write and Whine yesterday in that I’m a disciplined writer. At first, I was just going to comment with a sarcastic “Ha!”, but then I realized that the tonality of hilarity bordering slightly on hysteria would probably be lost.
When I spoke to Tad Williams a couple of years ago, I asked how he got through those early years of his kids being young. He looked at me and said, “Daycare. You gotta get daycare.” Boy oh boy is he right. I think I would go insane if Daniel didn’t spend six hours a week in daycare. Three hours of alone time on Tuesdays and Thursdays to spend extra time on my book is worth paying for.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m actually writing during that time.
Time is a funny thing. When you suddenly get a big load of it dumped into your lap and told, “Okay, do whatever you want with it,” you get giddy. You don’t think of investing it to get a bigger yield. You think, “All right! I’m going shopping!!!” Before long, you’ve wasted most of it before you realize, “Yikes! I better salvage what’s left.” And that’s around the time you really get productive. As weeks pass, however, you get better. You start managing the time you have better. You grow more productive. Oh, you still waste it here and there, but now you know how to manage the time enough to allow for the occasional spending spree. In fact, wasting a little time could be good for you, if you know how to use it wisely.
To illustrate that bunch of drivel I just wrote, let’s go back to a Tuesday morning in January, when I first started out this “full-time” thing:
9:05am Just dropped Daniel off at daycare, expecting tears and drama, but instead, Daniel goes “Bye!” and rushes off. Called out at least give me a hug, but he’s gone, daddy, gone, to play with the train set.
9:15 Get into the house and peel off my clothes. Start putting dishes in the dishwasher, cleaning swiftly downstairs.
9:45 Spend five minutes trying to get through to Eric & Kathy for John Mayer tickets. Can’t even get through.
9:50 Put some water in the microwave for tea. Head upstairs to check email.
9:55 Start responding to an email about world building and epic fantasy
10:07 Realizing I’m spending too much time on the email. Put it in drafts and pull up Chapter 44 of Willow. Read over what I’ve written.
10:08 Write, write, write.
10:12 Get stumped for a word. Do some knitting while I think.
10:14 Write, write, write.
10:23 Start writing about Coren teaching Joshua to throw knives, then realize that since Coren is from Dyria, would she have more of an African throwing knife? Decide to jump on Wikipedia to investigate.
10:27 African throwing knives look like that? Oh, my goodness, if Coren threw that she will mess people up!!! And no way would Joshua practice with that; he would cut himself looking at it!
10:30 This stuff about African weapons is amazing! Do you know that most Africa weapons can also be used for money?
10:39 Decide to look into African archery while I look up weapons.
10:42 Ack! Need to start writing! Write, write, write,
10:45 Can’t write…those knives are going through my head. And wait a second…since Coren got caught in Joshua’s village, would she even have her knives anymore? Joshua’s father would’ve confiscated them. Need to think. Do some more knitting.
10:46 Getting sleepy….
10:59 After getting up from a quick nap, open up my journal and start freewriting about Coren’s weapons.
11:12 Think I got it together on Coren’s weapons. Go back to the chapter. Write, write, write.
11:32 Getting thirsty…hey! Where’s my tea? Oh, man, I forget to get it from the microwave.
11:33 Come back upstairs with cold tea and write, write, write.
11:48 What? I got killed by a newt while helpless? Stupid Nethack game…
11:50 Write, write, write.
11:58 Quickly save my work, jump into the boots, and jump in the car to get Daniel.
12:07pm Wrestle Daniel into his coat as he screams and flails his arms, shouting, “No go! No go!” Throw him over my shoulder to take him back home.
2:05pm Come back upstairs to see Daniel on my laptop and a whole bunch of nonsense typed over what I just wrote, seeing that I forgot to close the writing program. Much screaming and gnashing of teeth follows before I remember that I saved the file.
3:05pm After throwing Daniel’s little butt in bed for a nap, reopen the writing program. Daniel’s handiwork is still there. Oh yeah. Forgot about the autosave feature. Crap.
Okay, that went a little longer than necessary, and now, I forgot about the point I was trying to make. Something about discipline. Maybe I’ll do some more knitting while I think about it…