Reverb12 Day Twenty Six: Carving Out Time
How do you intend to carve out more time for the things that are the most important to you in 2013?
My daily life is an unusual one for any number of reasons, the biggest of which is probably my status as a freelance writer. Without getting into whether or not I’ve achieved as a freelance writer what I have hoped to achieve yet, I can confirm that much of my time is spent at home alone, doing various things both related to and not related to writing. (Sometimes, looking for non-writing jobs to supplement my income. But that’s another story.)
One of the more common misconceptions about my situation is that I live some kind of life of leisure because I’m home all day most days. Wrong. While I’m more in control of what I’m doing any given hour of the day than would be a person who worked at a company, I don’t lounge about every moment of every day.
I spend much of the first few hours I’m awake answering emails, researching jobs (writing or otherwise), catching up on my reading, (fiction as well as non-fiction as both are crucial to what I aspire to do), the actual writing, marketing, and any number of other things pertaining to the achievement of my career/job goals. How good I am at doing those things is not material. The fact is I dedicate time to them.
Aside from that, because I’m at home all the time, I also must dedicate specific time to domestic activities such as laundry, cleaning, picking up the place, sometimes cooking. Mowing in summertime. Shoveling a bit of snow on winter days. Grocery shopping. You know, life. I try to regiment it via “to-do” lists, and they help a great deal. But if I don’t keep moving some days, I don’t get everything done on said lists. And often what get left off are the things I simply want to do for non-career me. Or plans that are career but more long term and less tangible at present. Brainstorm and such.
At times I let myself believe that I don’t have the right to spend this hour on a short story or on editing my novel, because any given freelancer or career person would spend that hour networking, or making a query, or any number of other things the world at large would call “productive”. So I spend more of the time and energy I have on any given day trying to mark check marks on the big symbolic wall in my life called “Protestant Work Ethic.” To get done whatever things I have on my list any given day that are most closely related to straight out work. Before I know it, it’s late, and when it’s late I am usually not as well prepared to do certain things. So they are moved to the next day’s list.
I hope to sell my fiction someday. But I can’t if I don’t write it and edit it. I can’t perfect a craft that I let myself judge as extravagant, or lower on the ladder. In fact if I am ever to break into fiction as I wish to, I must make the creation oas well as the consumption of fiction a priority. Which means, in short, in order to find the time for it, I have to insist that any given hour working on the novel, finishing a short story, or reading a collection of someone else’s short stories is a solid investment of my time. The more I do those things, the better I become at writing fiction. And writing fiction, though not my career at this time, is important to me.
In short, in order to carve out more time in 2013 for the things that are most important to me, I have to grant myself the right to consider them important.
The same goes with theatre, or my exercise routine, or anything that isn’t filed under the “sweat of your brow” classification. I have the right to take the time to do those things, and more, simply because they are important to me. I don’t have to justify that to anybody anywhere. My situation and my personality are unique in many ways, but even if they were not, I shouldn’t have to justify to society how I need or want to spend my time as my life is right now.
So that is how I will carve out more time for the real things in 2013. I’ll simply allow myself the right to do so.