A lack of Time
It’s a funny thing is time, it goes forwards but never back, it can go fast or slow, it all depends on your point of view. It’s different from one place to the next but actually it’s always the same, seconds, minutes and hours. There is one thing about time that I know for certain, there’s never enough of the dam stuff!
Apparently time flies when you’re having fun but I disagree, you see I think time flies full stop, except of course when I’m doing the good old 9-5 job that I require to earn a living so I can pay the bills, but let’s not digress. It does in fact fly so fast that I suddenly find myself at the grand old age of 31 but I’m not really sure how I got here.
I’m sure there are plenty of people who know what I’m talking about and I suspect anyone out there who wants to be a writer, who doesn’t know where to start, I’m fairly sure they’ll agree that one of the problems they feel they face is not having enough time to sit and write.
I believe Steve Jobs said:
“My favourite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time”
You can probably interpret that quote a few different ways as you can with most quotes and I’m sure I’ about to horribly misappropriate it, forgive me Apple fans. For me the quote symbolises just how busy our lives have become and even when we’re not supposed to be busy the vast majority of us will be. You see we live in a world that is ultra-connected, where our attention is vied for constantly by family, friends, companies/corporations and of course social media (which encapsulates all of the above). The vast majority of us own a smart phone which is capable of bombarding us with up to the minute push notifications so information is thrust at us more than ever before. What does this mean? Well It means that where before you had 5 minutes to just relax, now more than likely you’ll actually spend that 5 minutes getting worked up at the latest trends on social media. This means that we are constantly reducing any spare time we originally had, so much so that we don’t actually have any spare time.
Where am I going with this? Am I about to discuss our social ills and rally against a generation of people who have fewer social skills due to spending their time talking through the medium of slang and emoji? Am I going to suggest that people are now fatter than ever before, myself included (oh to be young and slim again) due to the attraction of sitting at home on computers instead of getting outside in the fresh air? Or maybe I’m going to tell you all some amazing statistics that show how many hours on average we spend staring at some form of screen.
Actually no, I’m not, as frankly talking about any of those things would probably make me a raging hypocrite! Instead I’m going to talk about how I personally feel I have too little time and too much to do, especially when it comes to writing.
I enjoy writing and as I’ve said several times before I’d love to be able to write full time but currently that just isn’t an option. This means I have to fit it in around my life and this is where my issue with time comes in. It feels to me like I have a busy life, I always seem to be doing something. First off there’s family and within that I’ll include my fiancée, three dogs, parents, brother and sister, nieces and nephews, they all need and deserve my attention, my family mean a lot to me and they have to be top of the pile when it comes to my life. After that we get friends and as I’m such a great guy (modest too) I have a nice healthy number of friends, not hundreds but enough to give me a varied and busy social calendar throughout the year. Next up there’s work, there’s no getting away from it I have to work, if I don’t then the bills aint getting paid and life’s not going to go so well. Finally I’d better not forget living, I mean that takes some effort doesn’t it, cooking, eating, shopping, cleaning and other various household jobs.
As you can see there’s a fair few demands on my time so it’s no wonder that writing often gets pushed down the list, I don’t want it to and I don’t mean it to but sometimes it just has to. An by the way I should point out I’m not complaining about my life or how busy it is, quite the opposite, I have a great life and even though I am so busy I am still writing just maybe not as much as me and others would like.
Now there are many writers and bloggers out there that will say I’m making excuses and that if I want to write I need to be prepared to make sacrifices including social commitments. To some degree they are probably right and certainly I’m in no real position to argue the point with a successful blogger or published author. In fact If I kept a diary for a week of all the things I get up to, I expect they could find several chunks of time that scream YOU COULD BE WRITING RIGHT NOW! For example I’m pretty sure they’d argue that all those slots that would read FIFA 17 were ideal for writing, but I must say giving up playing FIFA is certainly not on my radar. I wonder if I could argue that playing FIFA is essential to my existence. In fact maybe I need to write a post about it then I could justify the time spent playing as ‘writing research’. Watching X Factor is probably also frowned upon as great swathes of the population consider it mind numbingly boring, I’m pretty sure I can’t argue it broadens my creative intelligence, I do enjoy it though, especially the earlier rounds of car crash TV but like with FIFA I could easily live without it and devote the time to writing.
In the end I guess it comes down to personal choice, some people are great at setting themselves deadlines and sticking to them, others are ready to sacrifice everything for their art but some just want to enjoy the experience with no pressure. I’m definitely in the enjoy it camp, the last thing I want is to feel my writing is becoming a chore. I’d much rather take pressure off myself by not setting hard and fast deadlines. Personally I need to feel in the mood to write and I want to enjoy it. That means if I come home from work and I’m too tired, then there is no point in trying to sit down and write as A) I will probably just write gibberish (maybe like I am doing now?) & B) I’ll come to resent the fact I’m writing.
Does this make me less dedicated to the craft? Does it make me less determined to one day finish my book and see it published? Not in my opinion, I must say though I wouldn’t say no to finding a few extra hours in the week but somehow I don’t think that’s possible.
PS: I’ve just realised I just spent 1200+words saying I didn’t have enough time to write, but then proceeded to waste time writing about time and how I don’t have enough of it!