Changes of Seasons, Changes of Times

I feel accomplished because I just finished an hourlong writing session. I edited and revised a section of my neverending novel. The one I seem to write about a lot. The sense of accomplishment is overshadowed by the fact that—with the exception of a few short bursts of editing over the last couple of weeks—I’ve hardly worked on the book since late August, when my day job (I’m a teacher) started up again.

I find that happens to me whenever there’s a change that occurs, which is problematic if one is to be a professional anything. Knowing this is an issue should make it easier for me to take care of it. As such I’m stating publicly, so I can be embarrassed if I fail, that I’m going to start doing a minimum of a half-hour of writing work every day. I got the timeframe from my writing colleague and buddy Lee Thompson who wrote about writing for a half hour every day.

I’ve been trying to get myself to work for two hours a day since the new school year began but I always find a reason (some may say excuse and I wouldn’t fault you for it, and may even agree with you deep down) not to sit down and do the work. I’m too tired is a biggy. My day is a long one with nearly an hour added to it since my daughter has become a student at my school. I leave the house at 6:35 to pick her up at my ex-wife’s (at 6:50). We arrive at school anytime between 7:00 and 7:20, depending on when she comes out. My day ends at 3, and if I have to wait for her for something, later. Then I bring her home and I’m not usually home until 3:45ish. At this point, two hours of more work feels like two days. By the time my wife gets home (6:20ish) and we have dinner, we’re at 7:30 and I have to iron clothes. After that, I’m too beat to do much more than read and/or watch TV until bed (between 9 and 10).

Now, the time between 4 and 6 is ample writing time. I know that. But teaching isn’t a relaxing job. I spend a lot of my day running around. Think Robin Williams. When I get home, I’m tired. And then I feel guilty. Because I love writing. This blog can help keep me sane in that way. Silly projects sometimes do, as well. Things that I don’t take seriously, just enjoy writing. But the novel…that’s work. Editing and revising is work for me. Fun work, once I get started, but work.

So Lee’s revelation that he works a half hour a day on his writing (I bet his daily schedule is even more crazed than mine) is an epiphany for me. The dude’s published something like a million books—novels, novellas, and stories—in the past year! I’m reading his first novel now and am enjoying it, and have begun saying to myself, “Thirty minutes a day.”

Today’s hour felt wonderful. With the baby coming (due in less than a month now!?), I know my time will be stretched even more, but I can commit to half an hour a day. Even if it means going someplace else for half an hour with my iPad and the Bluetooth keyboard to work.

Speaking of the iPad and Bluetooth keyboard, this is the first time I’ve used to it to write something long. Writing on the iPad is weird. I may blog about this another time. Let me know if you think I should.


About Bill Gauthier

Bill Gauthier is a writer. His books include the collection CATALYSTS (2007), ALICE ON THE SHELF (2011), and SHADOWED (2011). His stories and essays have appeared in DARK DISCOVERIES and BORDERLANDS.

Posted on October 6, 2012, in Life, Random Stuff, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Congrats on the baby, Bill!

    And I hear you on being too exhausted for marathon writing. Short intense bursts rock though, and I think they come out much more honest, and much cleaner in the first draft.

    Thanks for reading Nursery Rhymes 4 Dead Children, too! Glad you’re liking it. 😀

    • Thanks for the congrats, Lee.

      Since I haven’t done much re: short bursts, I can’t comment on that. Back in the day, between 2000 and 2003, writing in 2 hr blocks was the norm. I have several trunk novels as a result. One had a publisher look at it. Two are first drafts that I never returned to because I wrote them more for the helluvit than for any other reason. One is a short ‘n sweet crime novel that I will return to. I have no issue with long sessions. I think that my main problem was that during my divorce and a couple years after (2004-2007) I fell off the bike and I’ve had a hard time getting back on. But I WILL get on, that I’m sure of. I love this particular race too much not to.

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