Too Much Time?

Is it possible to have too much writing time?

Tempus fugit in my living room

One of my constant gripes is that I don’t have enough time to write. If the day job, the housework and general ‘stuff’ all disappeared, I would be prolific. The words for that bestselling novel would tumble from my brain through my fingers and onto the page. My success would be guaranteed. Or would it?

Those of you who are my Facebook friends will know that a nasty foot infection had me in hospital for four nights. The foot is going to take several weeks to fully heal and until it does my activities are severely restricted. This means I have more time to write. But I’ve found it very difficult to motivate myself. When the day stretches emptily in front of me, the urgency to do anything disappears. I’ve been getting up later, lying on the settee reading magazines and checking Twitter and Facebook ten times more often than usual. My excuse is that I’m convalescing, catching up on the sleep I lost in a noisy hospital ward and recovering from the stress of fighting with an NHS which wouldn’t give me a treatment plan. I’ve been told to sit with my foot up as much as possible – and the most comfortable place to do this is on the settee not behind a desk. I could write longhand as I lounge around but that seems like too much effort and what’s the hurry, at the moment I don’t have to cook, wash up, iron etc. (thank you, husband!) so I have all the time in the world.

Result: I have time handed to me on a plate and I waste it.

Lesson learned: My dream of giving up the day job and becoming a full-time writer may not work for me. When time is limited I make much better use of it.

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  1. #1 by juliathorley on August 10, 2017 - 4:12 pm

    Oh, this strikes a chord. The busier I am, the more I achieve; but when the work slows down, so do I. Try not to beat yourself up and just enjoy the chance to sit and be. Time spent healing isn’t wasted. Have you tried dictating your thoughts, Barbara Cartland style?! (Only half joking, actually.)

    • #2 by Sally Jenkins on August 10, 2017 - 6:27 pm

      As they say, Julia, if you want something done – ask a busy person! You are right about needing time to heal and no, I’ve tried dictating. I think I’d feel self-conscious, even alone!

  2. #3 by susanjanejones on August 10, 2017 - 5:23 pm

    Sally! What’s wrong with us? I was like that after an operation. I had to have 3 months doing nothing but recover, and well meaning family said, “There, now you can write your novel you’ve been gong to do for the last few years…” EEk, I’d get out the paper and pens and then go blank. It did help me to put words down though, and the end result did eventually get finished. Hope the foot is feeling better.

    • #4 by Sally Jenkins on August 10, 2017 - 6:28 pm

      Thanks for the good wishes, Susan, and I’m glad I’m not the only one to feel this way.

  3. #5 by Jenny Roman on August 10, 2017 - 5:37 pm

    Am sure you’re right, Sally – a deadline and limited time always works for me, but that doesn’t stop me dreaming about giving up the day job! Hope you get well soon xx

  4. #7 by Shirley Stow on August 10, 2017 - 8:41 pm

    How true Sally. I am retired but still keep busy with ‘fixed’ things I do during the week. Sometimes I think how lovely it would be to have a day with nothing planned so that I could clear out a cupboard, make lots of phone calls to distant friends for a leisurely chat, do my ten thousand steps per day and oh, lots of things. But like you, with a free day, I have a late breakfast, read the paper, then look at my e-mails. Then it is lunchtime! Perhaps I should run the vac round, or dust my bits and pieces which get neglected, or maybe tidy that cupboard now I have the opportunity. Gosh, is that the time? I need to prepare dinner………perhaps the cupboard can wait for another free day!

    • #8 by Sally Jenkins on August 11, 2017 - 4:56 pm

      It seems like it’s definitely good to have a schedule, Shirley!

  5. #9 by Wendy Clarke on August 11, 2017 - 3:08 pm

    Even though I write ‘full time’ I write better when I have other commitments during the week. A whole day unscheduled will mean procrastination.

    • #10 by Sally Jenkins on August 11, 2017 - 4:57 pm

      I think we’re all the same, Wendy – we need something to spur us on.

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