Thursday, June 19, 2008
Padrone the Time Lord and a Twisted Gemini
Padrone on Time Management
Tom Monteleone, the author and publisher known and loved by many as Padrone has a lot to say about being a successful writer. His book on writing, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing a Novel, is jammed packed with excellent advice on the subject. I've had the pleasure of studying with Tom and his brilliant gaggle of author/instructors at the writing workshop, Borderlands Press Boot Camp. He knows his stuff so when I saw that Cemetery Dance Magazine had a link online for an article by Tom, I popped on over for a look.
Have a look yourself--definitely worth your time (pardon the pun):
Time Keeps on Slippin' . . . .Into the Future
Or: How to find the time to write
by Thomas F. Monteleone
Rebellion and a Twisted Gemini
Time management has been vexing for me as a writer. I have more time than most writers, but it can slip away from me if I'm not diligent. I love to write and I'm a naturally hard worker, but I have a personality that rebels against a rigid schedule BUT if I don't have some semblance of schedule, I can dawdle time away like sand through my fingers.
I used to beat myself up for not adhering to the sacred writing rule of "you must write everyday." And while beating myself up, I was also creating a subconscious backlash against my joy for writing which ultimately caused me to rebel. A kind of negative feedback loop formed which made me war with myself about writing. Of course, most of this war was raging on the subconscious level, but it led me to find all kinds of excuses not to write even when I wanted to and needed to (oh, the joys of being a Gemini...always of two minds). And since I work at home, there are plenty of easy excuses at hand: laundry, dishes, bills, oil changes for the cars, cleaning, etc. And then of course there's the oh so enticing "networking" online, blogging and "researching." Oh yes, I'm a master of self-distraction and delusion.
Anyway, I finally had to admit to myself that I couldn't be a work-a-day writer with a time clock and a page limit. I had to rekindle my joy for writing and let that guide me to finding my own rhythm schedule-wise. To find that joy again, I had to force myself NOT to force myself to write (my dutiful German genes run strong, but my Bohemian rebellion side won't be silenced!), but rather, I had to learn how to love it again. Before going to war with myself, I'd actually found writing fun. I LOVED the process of uncovering a story and finding a way to tell it to others that made it fun and interesting to them.
It took me a while to step away from the rigid scheduling idea and break the negative pattern I'd set up, but I'm finally there. I'm still doing a little dance with myself and learning how best to keep the fun fresh and be productive at the same time, but it's much easier now because I'm kinder and gentler with myself. One thing I did this year was wrap up my big projects just before Spring sprung here in New England. I was determined to have time to go to the beach and be outdoors in the beautiful weather while it lasted. Spring is short here before the heat and humidity set in and I didn't want to miss it sitting in my office staring longingly out the window when I live across the road from the sea. Ack...no way! I figure I'm halfway through my life - how many Springs do I have left? As the saying goes, "life's too short"and I might add, all work and no play makes Fran a dull writer.
Of course, sometimes you just have to hunker down and get the work done, but for someone with my personality, too much hunkering is poison to the process but just enough keeps the literary lifeblood flowing. So I say, find your own rhythm. Writing everyday is a great way to succeed and the best way, I think, but some of us need a bit of flexibility in that rule to stay the course for the long haul especially if you want to keep loving what you do. Viva la difference!