Unlike words, which are a limitless resource (I have explored that concept before), TIME is finite.
I don’t want to be trite but I will be – there are only 24 hours per day. That’s only 1,440 minutes or 86,400 seconds.
That really isn’t that much. How do we ever get everything done?
Simples. We don’t. At last I don’t.
I follow this blog about how much of the publishing process we do ourselves as writers and the answers are fascinating. Some, like me, do everything. Some hire out what they can, in other words everything except the writing. Many are somewhere in between. Reasons vary from ability to willingness and TIME.
“I want to spend my TIME only on writing.”
This reminds me of a severe bout of jealousy I suffered a couple of years ago. Or was it anger? If I’m totally honest, it was far more complicated than that and certainly mixed with a measure of disdain, disbelief at the arrogance, and an extra-large helping of “Hrmph, it’s all right for some”.
An aspiring author in conversation (with whom I do not recall) declared that she had given up her day job to dedicate herself to writing full-time.
It was definitely jealousy I felt. “Lucky Cow,” I thought.
I cannot afford that. I would love to dedicate all my TIME to writing. But who or what will pay the bills.
TIME is MONEY. (Drat, I’ve sunk to using cheap clichés)
This came back to haunt me last year when I lost my day job because of my writing. There I was, suddenly with a lot of TIME on my hands and a decision to make. Find another job immediately and give a few hours (or even just precious minutes) to writing at night? Or take the bull by the horns and dedicate all my TIME to writing?
I had enough in reserve to do this for a few months, so I did.
By Christmas 2014, I had published 3 books (2 of which had already been written over the previous 2 years, and the third became the start of a new project.)
Was it possible to dedicate all my TIME to writing?
Now, let’s get real!
- Making-writing-publishable TIME – the chores: the editing, getting test reader feedback, more editing, the proof-reading, the cover, more proofing, the formatting, even more line editing and proofing backwards, the blurb, the tagline, the uploading. Phew!
- Marketing TIME – which I knew precious little about, but without it how will people ever hear about me and what I have done.
- Social-media TIME – not to be resented because that’s part of marketing. I reach out into the world to try to connect with other writers and readers via groups. I reciprocate, look at what others are posting, explore if it might interest me.Yet I’ve found that it’s a little like trying to play catch in a huge dark room with blindfolds and earmuffs on. You calculate the chances of connecting with someone.
- Learning TIME – what are others out there doing to reach their market. There is so much advice, so many examples, some of which I’ve found useful, some of which I’ve implemented or been inspired by, some of which is so logical.
- Blog TIME – My blog, which is writing, is part of my website. So this goes hand in hand with the next.
- Keeping-my-website-up-to-date TIME – this is self-explanatory, really. Add new reviews to the website, keep shopping links up to date and whatever else is necessary.
- Newsletter TIME – this is also writing, so good. Do one and drive your traffic to a mailing list and you will increase your chances of connecting with your readership and increase click rates, I read. What am I – a transportation engineer? I don’t want traffic – I want readers, I want people who love what I do, recommend it on and leave me a review to tell me how much they’ve enjoyed the products of my labour. I want people to take a chance and have a look. In my mind’s eye, I see people reading, laughing, crying, getting angry and thinking they want more – recognition for me. Not traffic!
- Working-from-home TIME – I have found this hard. If you go to an office, you have structure. You work from 9 – 5, or whatever your hours are. Your life has a rhythm which divides TIME into working TIME and leisure TIME. When I decided that I would dedicate my TIME to writing, my leisure activity (the writing I did after work, before I went to bed) became working TIME. But the structure was gone. No 9 – 5, no having to get up, get dressed, schedule sensible meals. The concept of days, weekends, months, of the passing of TIME got blurred. It was disorienting, confusing and difficult to maintain motivation to lead a complete life. Prevarication crept in. No matter how much I loved my WRITING TIME, I paid a price, which affected my health and my sanity. So I enlisted the help of friends. Now, I get up and get dressed every day (except for the odd slob day) and 2 or 3 times a week, I go to a friend’s house to work there.
Then another consequence of TIME hit me. The TIME it takes for money to run out when you have less coming in than you need.
I don’t have the TIME to wait for the moment I find my market, for the moment I start making real money with my writing. I believe it will happen so long as I continue working at it, but only TIME can tell me when.
TIME is still MONEY.
TIME to make a decision.
TIME to look for a job in this extremely difficult market.
So since January 2015, the demands on my TIME have been thus:
- New improved Working-from-home TIME
- WRITING TIME
- Seasonal-job TIME
- Looking-for-a-day-job TIME
- In-the-meantime-building-a-second-business TIME
- Making-writing-publishable TIME
- Marketing TIME
- Social-media TIME
- Learning TIME
- Blog TIME
- Keeping-my-website-up-to-date TIME
- Newsletter TIME
How on earth can 1,440 minutes a day be enough for all this and still offer Sleep-and-recharge TIME or Sensible-eating TIME or Reading TIME, which you must have as a writer?
No, I never have enough TIME.
I cannot fit everything into this finite resource and stay sane and healthy and produce quality and be a good person.
But I will never give up writing, whatever TIME has in store for me, because I have so many more stories to tell and there are readers out there who will enjoy them when the TIME is right.