Saturday, June 27, 2009

Time and Balance

I’m discouraged today. After a burst of writing energy over the last couple weeks, I’ve hit a block. It’s not Writer’s Block. I’ve had a flurry of ideas which is evident by all the folders and tablets containing various stages of stories and articles on my desk, on the floor, on my diningroom table. What has discouraged me is time—the lack of it and how to balance the time I have. I’m grateful for this unending flow of writing ideas. A lot of writers I know complain about not having enough. But how to manage it all?

This week I think I’ve set unattainable goals and unrealistic deadlines. I have a growing to-do list and not enough time to accomplish it all. That’s only my writing to-do list. I haven’t even mentioned how I’ve been neglecting the housework, neglecting my loved ones, my friends, my cats. I haven’t turned on my phone yet today. I’ve been doing nothing but writing all day, but I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing, that I’ve been spinning my wheels.

I was working on an article I’ve been excited about getting to all week. It started with writing one article about Ernest Hemingway, one of my favorite authors, and before I knew it, I was outlining one topic after another. The thing with Hemingway just snowballed. The more I researched him, the more I wanted to learn about him, the more I wanted to write about him. It’s almost become an obsession. I want to know about his life, his loves, his cats, how he wrote, so I can learn more from him. It has me sidetracked. I haven’t written a word of fiction for I-don’t-know-how-long. My novel-in-progress has sat in the same spot for weeks. Fiction has been my first love when it comes to writing. Someday I’d like to make a living doing nothing but churn out novel after novel. Today I kidded myself thinking I could spend part of my day working on articles and set aside a block of time to work on my novel. It’s hard for me to shift into fiction writing mode once I’ve been in non-fiction mode. How do you switch off one mode to focus on another? How do you find a balance and make enough time?

Normally I can find some encouragement or some writing advice, but today, I’ve dug deep down and came up with nothing. I don’t have an answer for this. I need to hear what works for you. For now, I’m going to walk away from my desk, breathe and call my daughter.

This week your freewriting exercise is to write about “time.” Set your timer for 15 minutes and write whatever comes to mind…