Time Theft

I steal time. I never use it when I have it. Somehow, I write better when I’m working with borrowed time, when I’m up against a deadline, or I’m behind. I stay up way too late. I sneak time at work. I put off chores, show up late to gatherings, I ignore loved ones.

If I have a whole day set aside to write, you bet your ass I will find a million other things to fill it with. However, if I have a million things to do and the itchings of an idea, I will put off the world to write it.

All of which sounds a little over-dramatic.

It does have some truth to it, though. I’m a master at procrastination. When I have all the time in the world, my mind is relaxed and lazy. “I’ll get to it when I get to it. I have all day.” And then, inevitably, the day is over and I haven’t even gotten started.

Whereas when I only have an hour or two in order to write a lot (for example, during NaNo last year when I’d be thousands of words behind), I would buckle down, focus, and not let anything distract me until I knocked out the words.

What it really all comes down to is that you have to make the time to write. You have to ask permission of loved ones and obligations to leave you alone for a time – whether it’s an hour or fits and starts throughout a day. Some people need long stretches of time to do their song and dance to get ready, but I really do better when I only have ten or twenty minutes. Time is more important when you don’t have much of it.

Back when I used to make writing resolutions, I’d resolve to write an hour every day that year. Just make the time to sit down and do it. Looking back, I would probably have had more luck with those failed resolutions if I had told myself I had to make twenty minutes to sit down and write every day.

And the thing of it is, usually when I set aside that twenty minutes, it somehow becomes much more. If I have to commit to writing all day long, my muse runs and hides and my brain quails. But, if I tell them both I only need them to hang around for twenty minutes, it’s just long enough to get them interested, and they decide to stick around to see it through.

How do I make time to write? Trickery of my mind and muse, and making the most of what little time I get. Or stealing. I do steal time where I can.

Sara is a Kansas-grown author of the fantasy and horror persuasions. She is convinced that fantastical things are waiting for her just around the corner, and until she finds the right corner, she writes about those things instead.

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