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
Well this week, I have been inspired by Salvador Dali and his paintings. He declared himself a genius and I would have to agree. The man had a gift for tapping into the sub-conscious and dreaming states.
a 20th-century avant-garde movement in art and literature that sought to release the creative potential of the unconscious mind, for example by the irrational juxtaposition of images.Launched in 1924 by a manifesto of André Breton and having a strong political content, the movement grew out of symbolism and Dada and was strongly influenced by Sigmund Freud. In the visual arts its most notable exponents were André Masson, Jean Arp, Joan Miró, René Magritte, Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Man Ray
Salvador Dali is perhaps the most recognised and famous of the surrealist artists of the early 20th century. He produced over 1500 paintings in his lifetime. The most famous of these paintings was titled: The Persistance of Memory. In it the most recognisable feature is melting clocks. There have been many interpretations of the inspiration behind this painting. The most accepted inspiration was Einstein’s theory that time is relative and not fixed. This theory fits in perfectly with the surrealistic movement. Legend goes that he was inspired by watching melting camembert cheese.
If you have not seen the painting, The Persistance of Memory, google it or better yet go the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and view it. It is truly a fascinating painting. This painting is one of my favourite paintings. Whenever I look at it I find something new in it to inspire me.
So for this week’s Monday Mental Muscles I am going to get you to exercise the muscle of memory. Memory is something that forms who you are. You learn from past mistakes. You remember circumstances that make you happy. You remember the sound of a voice of someone you love. Memory has the rare ability to allow us to travel through time and space for a moment. Memory and Dreams are connected. Our dreams are rooted in our memories of the day’s happenings or memories that haunt us. In the same way story telling uses our power of memory recall to flesh out our characters and to make a story livable and believable. Memory is intangible. Memory is fluid. Memory is changeable. Memory is subjective to the emotions we have at the root of a specific memory. So using the inspiration of The Persistance of Memory where time is relative and unfixed along with the fluidity and unpredictability of human memory I have come up with some writing exercises for you this week.
Of course the rules again: are that you do at least one of these writing exercises this week; that if you blog about them, link back to this blog; and lastly but not leastly that you feel free to pay it forward by passing on these exercises to other people.
- Write an essay of a childhood memory but focus on the emotions that you felt as a child at that time.
- Write down a memory of your main character and how that memory has affected their personality.
- Write down the first memory you can ever remember and then close your eyes and imagine yourself back in that moment.
Happy trails down memory lane…
© All rights reserved Kim Koning.