Lately I am having an issue with time. Okay, so it’s not lately. It’s a normal state of affairs for me. Last week, my good friend Trish Wooldridge wrote a great posting about the reality of time – keeping track of the things that take up her time. It really got me to thinking. I’m not too concerned about the hours I spend on the kids or daily life stuff right now, but I am concerned with the amount of outside activities that take up the time I am supposed to be writing.
I do a lot of volunteer work. I am on the Executive Committee of the Jewish Community Center here in Tokyo. I am on the AUW Japan Support Committee and I also do work with another charity called Friends of Child Protection. This year I’ve been doing some work with the parents’ group of my kids’ school. I’m the room-mom for my daughter’s class. I sing in the synagogue choir. Are you wondering yet why I haven’t gotten around to editing my still-in-first-draft novels?
This has all come to my attention more recently as my son’s swim team season kicked into high gear and I have to participate in his carpool a few times a week also, adding to my already-full schedule.
I seem to have an inability to say no.
Well, the buck stops here. I cannot continue at the pace of sleeping only six or fewer hours a night and still function. I cannot let my novels fall by the wayside like they have in the past few months. If I want to be a serious writer, I have to make a commitment to it and concentrate on it. Writing has to be my full-time job.
For the past two years I have participated in NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, which takes place in November. It’s one of those contests that everyone who finishes, wins. The objective is to kick start a novel – write 50,000 words in the month. That’s right, 50,000 words. I did it two years in a row by canceling the rest of my life. I worked on the novel alone. I left a lot of phone calls and emails unreturned, but my friends and family understood. My husband took awesome care of our kids on the weekends so I could pump out 3,000 words a day. Somehow I did it.
There is no way I’m going to exist like that on a regular basis – in a vacuum. But something’s gotta give. My goal is to spend some time over the next week or so figuring out what exactly I am going to remove from my schedule. Happiness does not equate to a full schedule. Happiness equates to spending time on the things that make me feel good about myself – including things that make me feel productive.
Stay tuned to see how it all works out. And wish me luck; this is not an easy task.