"Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend."
from "Diogenes Laertius: Lives of Eminent Philosophers" Theophrastus 278 BC
From the time I gave up my full-time daycare work in order to spend more time writing, I began to keep a daily time log. This wasn't just for my own information (to see how much time I spend or waste on my craft) but also because I was declaring a self-employment tax refund and in case anyone should want to check up on me, I wanted a record of the time I spend on writing and/or writing related activities. I find that this method helps keep me focused on using my time wisely, not wasting it. Although I am still an accomplished procrastinator and waster of time, just looking at my records helps me see where I have fallen down on the job. I used to keep the time log in a notebook. Now I have a calendar on the wall and mark each day with my times.
I count the times I am doing research, attending classes or meetings that are related to writing (such as the poetry Board meeting, my critique group etc). Also writer's events such as the travel writer's gala I attended last weekend. I also, of course, mark down my actual writing times. And each month I post my monthly goals. If I haven't achieved those goals that month, they go up on the top of the list for the next.
For awhile I wasn't keeping track on my writing times and therefore I was not being so diligent about attending to my tasks. But now that I have the calendar posted I find that I am much more likely to spend the time I should and need to be spending at writing.
"Not a day without a line. Nulla dies sine linea"
Proverbial from "Pliny the Elder Natural History" Apelles 325 BC
This week I am really trying to stick to the program of writing from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. . Some days I am writing a bit less because I have classes to teach, editing for classes or other writing activities. But I seem to be progressing well now that I am keeping track again.
Today I did mostly notes and editing comments from Monday's critiquing of my new chapter segment. Later I had to go up to the bank but on my way there I began to get lots of ideas and even tonight on the bus going to my class I had to take out my notebook and write down some thoughts. I seem to be on a roll again, and that's good!
Of course you need a break in the routines. My break today was to walk through the neighbourhood to a different part of the district. It was a balmy day. Daffolids are blooming in all the gardens. I enjoyed my stroll through the old residential area where I live. This part of town was my teen-age stamping grounds so it was kind of fun returning to the scene of many memories.
This evening I had my "Prompting the Muse" class. We talked about way to combat writer's block. There weren't many people attending but those that were there are doing some interesting writing and as usual there was a lot of laughing and fun. Afterwards it was my leisure time. I always need to unwind after teaching. So I met my friend Cliffy on the Drive and had a glass of wine, then we went over to the LQ where our favourite jazz singer was entertaining. I enjoyed the last set of music and then I walked home.
Tomorrow is a busy day with two classes, but I'll try to put in my writing time in the afternoon because Friday I have to work all day at the daycare. One has to make some real money once in awhile (the classes I teach and the daycare are my bread-and-butter jobs).
But I feel good that I am once again keeping track of time and getting more written on my novel. Perhaps keeping a time sheet makes it more like a real 'job', but then...isn't it?
"There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep." Homer