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Monday, August 15, 2011

Hey Man, Do You Know Where I Can Score Some Time?

I'm saving up my pennies, and as soon as I find a time dealer, I'm buying as much as I can afford. I don't care if it's black market because the truth is I need more than I've got.

The number one reason I don't write when I want to is a lack of time. It's my typical excuse for not opening that document, not turning my computer on, not taking notes longhand... I'm starting to suspect that this excuse is a slippery slope. Because, while there are times when I genuinely, positively do not have an extra moment to spare, there are definitely times when I might be fibbing to myself just a bit.

Here's the why:
  • I am not someone who can sit down at my laptop and have brilliance flowing from my fingers in less than five minutes. I'm a ruminator, a stew-er if you will. I need to skim my outline and the last few paragraphs (at least) of what I've written and then think, and then maybe read my character sketches and then think... I'm pretty sure you can see where this is going. I'm slow, obsessive, and tedious.
  • I waste plenty of minutes on nothing. I watch movies and tv shows I don't even like. I fall into the rabbit hole that is google and learn all I could ever want to know about why David Bowie appears to have heterochromia (two different colored irises) but actually doesn't. I play on twitter (OH HAY! *waves*). I read lots of books. I. Stare. Into. Space.
  • I'm afraid to finish. I don't admit this often (and I know it sounds ridiculous) but... I'm afraid of completing things that have so much of my soul—and, let's be honest, my delicate little petal ego—in their design. Once something is DONE I feel like I'm saying, "YES! Yes, that is the absolute very best I've got; now, judge away!" and what if people hate it? What if they shred it and use it in the bottom of their pet mouse's cage? You are completely allowed to hate that new purple color I just painted my living room, but when I've mixed my blood into the paint, I can't promise to take it well. This leads me into my next point...
  • I am a procrastinator. There's nothing amateur about this girl, no. I'm totally playing in the pros in this event. I joke about being lazy and bored and fill-in-the-blank, but the truth is I'm just scared. Inspiration is new and exciting and pretty. Writing is hard and messy and personal and emotional. I'm passive-aggressive with my own ideas. (If you're not convinced I need a shrink at this point, I'm judging you.)
  • My imagination totally gets in my way. Before I wrote prose, I was a photographer and a sculptor, and before that I was a poet and a painter. I have a lifelong history with my neuroses regarding Art. One thing I've encountered, no matter the medium, is that I just can't make it as perfect as it is in my head. Because I over-think everything (please see the first bullet point) I have every element visualized down to the tiniest detail before I caress a single type key. A vivid imagination is a bitch to live up to. So sometimes I avoid trying.
I guess what I'm saying is: I'm stealing my time. I'm convincing myself I couldn't possibly do anything worthwhile with those 20-minute windows, I'm telling myself I'm burned out and too scatter-brained to attempt to write right now, so why try?

Writers often talk about finding those extra minutes, and writing something—anything—every day, and I've always thought, I wish I could do something with 20 minutes or write whenever the moment was available! I wish I was that kind of writer!

And now I'm seriously starting to wonder when I decided I'm not. This whole time I've been wondering why I didn't win the race when I sabotaged my own release gate.

So now I'm determined.

I'm going to listen to people (like Tahereh Mafi) when they say inspirational things like this: Grab a Pen

I'm going to write write write in my spare minutes.

And attempt to address all neuroses later. (I know they'll still be there. I'm inspired not delusional.)

So how about it? I dare you to find those minutes you keep saying you don't have.


Ang said...

Anna is not crazy. In fact, I'd say that Anna is rather normal in this regard.

See, I, personally, have exceptionally little time, too. I just pretend I have more than I do, thereby negating many, many sleep hours from my life. In the end, I'm exhausted but it all feels worth it, somehow.

Until later, when the exhaustion turns me into a mess who can't do anything but watch mindless television and pass out. But that's another story. ;)

Lovely and honest, dearie. Excellent.

Becci said...

When you blog, it's like you're talking to me. Or for me.

Anna, I relate so much to this post. SO much. From the process to the lack of actual time.

But mostly? To the being scared. Because I am. And I don't say that often.

You can do this girl, 20 minutes at a time :)