Everything these days is done against the clock. We’re all waiting for the time that something starts or ends. If not then we’ve got something on a timer. I’ve started running recently and, even though I’m doing it solely for fitness, I’ve still taken to timing myself. We’re all obsessed with time.
That’s as should be in my opinion. You see, there is no greater commodity in the universe. Money, love, material possessions—it all pales in comparison to the one greatest currency we’ll ever have. Knowledge is about the only thing that comes even close to as valuable. Even so, you need enough time to accrue knowledge. Time spent on the wrong things is time you’ll never get back.
Recently, I’ve been giving that premise a lot of thought. I’m one of few people who don’t bemoan the fact they aren’t a twenty-something anymore. What’s the point in wishing for something that cannot possibly be? I miss my twenties and I miss the shenanigans. They’re memories I’ll forever hold close. What I won’t do is sit there feeling sorry for myself that those days are over.
The only concern I have about time is that I seem to be getting so little of it to write of late. There just don’t seem enough hours in the day. There’s always something else to do or there just isn’t the space I need to get a lot done in bulk. It’s always bits and pieces, fits and starts. I can’t remember the last time I was afforded the time, peace, and quiet to just sit there and get loads of writing and/or editing done*.
I don’t hold my life at home responsible for that. I’m not the only person in the house and I can’t (and don’t) expect everybody to stop everything they’re doing so that I’m able to concentrate. They have lives too. I’m not more important than they are.
However, it’s frustrating in that I’m over two thirds of the way through editing Revenge on the Spanish Main and the rate at which I’m editing has slowed to a crawl. Initially I was averaging between twenty and thirty pages of editing a day. Of late it’s more like five. The pressure is cranking because I want to submit the manuscript before the years end.
On top of that I have to keep up with posts for the blog. All of the material I wrote to give myself a head start is gone. Even Find Me a Find, which I was a good seven–eight chapters ahead with at one stage, is now right up on top of me and taking longer than I’d anticipated. I was hoping I’d have started work on A Survivor’s Apocalypse Story again by now. There’s too much to do and nowhere near enough time to do it all.
On top of all of that, I decided it would be a good idea to start work on a new story that’s directly connected to The Escapades of William Hart. The reason for that is the whole length issue. While I’m happy that the length of Revenge is tumbling as I edit, it’s still going to be around 280,000 words long on completion. If anything is going to prevent its publication then that is surely it. So I’ve started work on a supplementary ‘pre-sequel’ of sorts, which I aim to keep below 70,000 words as a contingency plan.
The prologue is written and the story ready to go. The plan is to get working on it as soon as I’ve got around to submitting Revenge. Then I think about it all and wonder how I’m actually going to be able to squeeze all of this stuff in. I went on a blog break recently because I was overworking myself and it seems that the workload has just increased since I returned. Either that or there really are less hours in the day.
I get extraordinarily grumpy if I don’t get to work on my writing. I also get grumpy if I don’t get that time to switch off and relax; have a beer, play some PS4, do a session for Mixcloud, etc. It’s all extremely tough when there’s so much other stuff going on around me: kids needing to be entertained, a house to be kept reasonably intact, family to keep up with, and so on. Then there’s the fact that, as mentioned above, I’ve started running too. The run itself takes only around ten–eleven minutes; however, factor in the warmup, the cooldown, the sit down I need after because I’m knackered, and the shower because I’m sweaty and you’re suddenly creeping up to around the two hour mark. It all eats so much time up and writing is getting pushed back despite the fact it’s so, so important to me.
Oftentimes, when I do get that bit of time to write or edit, I’m just mentally exhausted and never get as much done as I want to. I feel like I’m making excuses the way I did before I started really taking Revenge seriously almost two years ago. The thing is that it isn’t an excuse. Occasionally, I’ll sit there reading a paragraph over and over and it just won’t make sense. I’ll know there’s a way to reduce its length, but I’m buggered if I can type words that form a coherent succinct alternative.
I’ve discovered that night-time is the best time for me to write. It all flows so much better at night. The problem with that is night-time is the only time the adults of the house get some respite from the kids and I can’t very well sit there writing every night. It’s the only time we can watch TV or a movie properly. It’s the only time I can play on my PS4. It’s the only time we have where kids aren’t expecting the world to revolve around them.
Time is not in my good graces at the moment because it refuses to offer itself willingly to me. It doesn’t care for my goals and dreams in the same way it doesn’t care about people who whinge that they aren’t young anymore. I’m at the mercy of time. I somehow have to find a way to manage it better or I’ll still be here this time next year talking about submitting Revenge to publishers…
*Coincidentally, I did actually manage to get a lot of writing/editing done yesterday. Let’s hope that trend continues.
Catch up with all previous additions to this series by clicking here.