Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Problem With Having Too Much Time -



I have been extremely busy this 2011, actually, we can probably trace it back to when my book came out in October.

I am not complaining or even pretending that to be busy at this time in my life wasn't a choice, it was.  But my To-Do list has grown and each day I play a daily game of Beat-the-List trying to see how many things I can check off.

And this is what I realize in times like these, the less time I have to write, the more I want to write.

~

When I first moved to this small town, I knew no one and I didn't have a job or a child.  I had nothing to occupy my life so I created a schedule to create some sort of routine.  A few days were for writing (the reason I left my old life and moved to a small town), but I had so much time that one day a week was actually called "Craft Day," it was a day, where me, with endless time, my endless summer, would focus on making a craft. And yes, I devoted a whole day to those felt animals, to those painted vases.

But when I look back at this time in my life when I actually had all the time in the world to write, I didn't write as much.

Time was endless then.  If I didn't write on a writing day, I could write the next day, or on Craft Day or the weekend.  I could put off my writing until later.  There wasn't a lot going on in my life, there was always time.  That is, until there wasn't.

~

When I got a part-time job, became pregnant, had a daughter, went back to school for my MFA, volunteered, became an editor for Crab Creek Review, began working with other writers, and realized a third-of-an-acre was actually not romantic, but a lot of work to upkeep, I watched this endless summer vanish.  All that time that seemed open for writing, was now closed.  I had (and *have*) a lot less time to write.

But here's the thing--I write more now than I did as my younger self who had no true commitments.

It could be because I am older, more dedicated, more organized, more _________(fill in the blank), but I think it's actually because I have *less* time that my writing time has become more valuable to me.

When I have time to write, I no longer will put it off, in fact I arrive to writing with a quick pulse and ideas flowing out of my fingers.  I am excited to write. I feel as if I was given this luxury of space and time and I no longer take it for granted.

It's a reward. It's a self-given gift.  It's the knowing that time is not endless, it's an absolute with an end date that could be close or far, we do not know.  It's the thankfulness of having a few moments to write and taking them, not letting them flutter away or giving my time to a bad habit or rerun of the Golden Girls.  It realizing what seemed like an endless summer was actually a wasted day of surfing Facebook.

Yes, having less time makes me write more and want to write more.

And in this month where sometimes I feel as if my To-Do list is trying to hunt me down and kill me, I find myself yearning for that writing time even more and when it arrives, I savor it.  And I take it. I no longer let it slip away and instead those moments become my endless summer when I walk out into the white paper waves, in search of the perfect poem.

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5 comments:

Renee said...

beautiful post--and i can relate. I always seem to write more when I don't have time for writing--this is a comforting fact for me though, since, expecting a baby this September, my writing-time will significantly shrink then (but not necessarily the amount of work I produce, hurrah!)

Jeannine said...

A beautiful description of a phenomenon I too have experienced - I wrote the most when I am busiest.

Justin Evans said...

I always write more when I have a lot of things happening at once.

I think it has something to do with the way the brain works. Work is work, and even if the work isn't creative, the brain probably thinks it needs to be more productive in ALL areas.

My name is Cindy said...

I am not a writer but a crafter but I can really empathise with what you are saying. When I have a week off at the end of the week I have done nothing, the house is still dirty, the garden untamed and the art projects unfinished. But having lots to do up against a deadline (real or imaginary) certainly focusses my mind. I am still trawling through OWOH and have popped over from my blog which you kindly visited. And if you like giveaways there will be a new one on Saturday. Cindy

Cheryl said...

Well stated, Kelli. This is a phenomenon that I experience so often, particularly lately. It resonates so true for me...the part about wasting the day away on Facebook, or for me anything on the computer - surfing blogs, researching projects, looking for reference materials, etc. I am easily distracted and can lose my precious creative time if I'm not careful. Thanks for the awareness, that all is precious, this time we have...whether there be a lot of it or just bit. I don't want to look back with regret on my days and feel I've squandered it on mindless and useless things when I could have been in the studio lost in creative and purposeful bliss.

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