Let me begin by saying this article is not going to be Michell’s whinefest. It may seem like it (at least early on) but it really isn’t.
That old saying “There’s not enough hours in the day” is certainly feeling real to me lately. I have two big writing projects going on: editing my fantasy novel for submission and NanoWriMo. I’ve also got the podcast which takes up several hours per week (interviews, editing and mixing all take time) plus I’ve got the work and home commitments. I’ve pretty much given up on television, which makes me sad. So many great shows, no time.
What this time crunch has done for me is given me the appreciation of using priorities and the importance of goals. You all know by now how important getting my work published is to me. This book (that I’m currently editing) has taken literally hundreds of hours. I believe in the story and I have a story arc in my mind that is begging to be told. I simply cannot let it go; the characters won’t let me. That means I have become willing to forego sleep to do the editing.
If there’s one thing I don’t like giving up, it’s my sleep. Just ask my wife.
That should give you a hint as to its importance to me.
I also took on the challenge of NanoWriMo. Challenges are my lifeblood. They motivate me in ways that I cannot even explain. I’ve set myself the challenge of finishing in 3 weeks. That means approximately 2,500 words per day. I’m currently averaging 3,500 (I can type REALLY fast) words per day. If I keep up the pace I’ll be done in something like 12 days. I’m really needing to give myself a slowdown so since the pace is good, I’m going to try and finish early so I can rest a little.
Then there is the family and Scout commitments. It all takes time.
To go off on a bit of a tangent for a moment, I always wondered how actors found the time to have a life away from work. I remember reading an interview with Kevin Sorbo (Hercules) some years ago. In the interview he talked about the 16 hour days and how, when he was done on the set, he had a workout. I wondered how he could stay motivated to keep up the pace.
Now that I’ve been fighting to keep multiple balls in the air myself I think I’m beginning to understand. These things that I’m doing are all activities that are important to me. Because they matter, I make the time to keep them going. Because I am a perfectionist, I do the very best job I can and I’ve started to let people help me when possible.
I’m sure I have a breaking point somewhere and I know I can’t keep this frenetic pace up indefinitely but it is a great thing to know I can do it in the first place. Maybe this means I CAN have a career as a writer and work during the day after all. To write the quantity of books I want to write, I’d like to turn 2 or 3 out a year. That means 200 – 300K per year. If I write 1,000 words per day (about 20 minutes effort if I know what I’m writing about) I can do it with a few days off for good behavior. If I chose to only do one book, the demands on my time are even less.
I think it’s possible. That writing a few words every day isn’t a myth. It is infinitely doable, even if you don’t average 50 words per minute like I do. Hunting a pecking a measely 10 wpm will still get you 600 words closer to completion if you dedicate 60 minutes to your craft a day.
So let me set you with a challenge (and I hope you will tell me how it goes when you’re done). For 1 week, write 30 – 60 minutes every day. It doesn’t have to be a continous 30 minutes; 5 minutes, 6 times a day will work just fine. At the end of the week, review what you’ve done and ask yourself if it’s something you can maintain.
That’s it. That is the challenge. At the end of the week I’ll let you know if I’ve managed to stay faithful to Nano and my editing.
At the time of this writing I had 10,000 words in 3 days for Nano and I’m only days away from submitting my fantasy novel. A new episode of ‘Get Published’ was released on November 1st and I’m preparing for several interviews for upcoming shows.