What is the most expensive commodity in today’s fast paced and increasingly digital world?
If you answered any of the above, you would be incorrect. The most expensive and the most priceless commodity in today’s world is:
Time is the one commodity that nobody can afford. No amount of gold, money or property will buy you extra time in a day, week, month or year. No amount of gold, money or property will allow you to repeat time that has passed. Every individual in every culture and every socio-economic class in the world has the same 60 seconds in every minute; the same 60 minutes in every hour; the same 24 hours in every day; the same 7 days in every week and the same 52 weeks in every year.
“Yesterday is a canceled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; today is the only cash you have – so spend it wisely.” – Kay Lyons
How important than is it for us to cherish time? Use it not abuse it.
Time is one of the reasons I decided to go full-time writing. I found I was squeezing in every morsel of time after my EDJ (Evil Day Job) to devote to my writing. However, this left little time for the basics in life like eating and sleeping. This all left very little time to spend with the people who I love. I found that to continue writing alongside a full-time job in management I was stretching myself very thin and the candle was becoming nothing more than a wick. I ended up resenting my EDJ for not allowing me more time to write. Sometimes, much to my chagrin, I also resented my urge and need to write because it did not allow much else in my life.
The Writing Muse is a jealous lover. He resents your time away from the blank page. He interrupts you at the most inopportune moments. For myself, it was usually in the crisis point of a meeting or disciplinary with a staff member. Very seldom did he interrupt with his inspiration and ideas at a time when I had a notebook open and ready. No, when I did have a notebook open and ready he then stubbornly kept quiet or worse went off on another tangent for another story and not the story I had in front of me.
“Writers live twice. They go along with their regular life, are as fast as anyone in the grocery store, crossing the street, getting dressed for work in the morning. But there’s another part of them that they have been training. The one that lives everything a second time. That sits down and sees their life again and goes over it. Looks at the texture and detail.” – Natalie Goldberg
In November I took part in NaNoWriMo. I was very fortunate to be on annual leave from the EDJ for the first 2 weeks of NaNoWriMo. I was in bliss. I could write for a solid 8 – 10 hours without interruption. It left me time to catch up with my friends and family. With that bliss of uninterrupted time for writing in my mind, I forged ahead to prepare to do this full-time.
Now I am in the place that I have longed to be for so long. Do not get me wrong. I am not telling you to just quit your EDJ and go writing full-time and you will make millions. I did not take this step lightly. I have prepared for it for over a year. I have saved money and now have a good cache to dip into for daily living expenses until I do start making money from my writing. I also have the most important element: support and encouragement from a loving family and an amazing group of friends. In this group of friends I am quick to add my writing friends who have really been behind me every step of the way over the last year.
Now I have the commodity I longed for: Time. But every gift can be a curse. The trick is to use time not abuse it. This means that though I may not have an EDJ to answer to I now answer to myself. I am very serious about writing full-time. This is more important Work to me then any other job I have ever had. Therefore I am treating this full-time writing like any other job. I have read many blogs and posts on what other writers do with their time. The most important aspect I have seen is that they get up and have the same starting time for writing – their new work – every day. They clock in with this job just like you would with an EDJ.
“We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.” – John F Kennedy
In reading and listening to many posts of advice on full-time writing, I have come up with a short list that I am going to use to make sure I am Using Time not abusing time.
- Have a separate writing space/office from the rest of the house.
- Get dressed/groomed every day, even if pjs seem comfortable, I am a professional and as such need to dress the part just as I would for any job.
- Clock in every day at 10am in the morning.
- Write until 6pm every day, breaking for lunch and tea.
- In this 8 hour work day: Keep at least 1 hour free for editing the previous day’s work and at least 1 hour free for research if needed.
- Turn off the internet/email unless internet is needed for research.
- During the hours of work/writing, turn the mobile phone onto silent.
- Have a whole day free from writing every week. (This will be Sunday.)
- All emailing/internet/blogging/errands/general housekeeping/gym to be done in the morning before starting the day’s writing.
- The evening should be left alone for time spent with family and friends – it is vital you maintain their support, so you need to spend some time with them to show them how much you appreciate their support.
These are going to be the 10 points that I am going to schedule my writing job to. My mind needs to know that even though I am not leaving the house to go to a EDJ, I am still in work mode. They say it takes 7 days to form a habit and 28 days to break a habit. So it is time to start training my mind into a daily writing-for-work schedule.
“Don’t count every hour in the day, make every hour in the day count.” – Anon