Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Finding Time to Write

The title of this post is somewhat of a mantra I'm trying to convince myself I need to hold on to. It's been hard though. My job has me keeping the long and hard hours and my mind is near exhaustion most days. I spend my work hours troubleshooting complex problems and ensuring my migrations stay on track, despite the overwhelming tendency for some servers to be nothing more than the spawn of Satan himself. When I'm feeling drained after days like these, I may want to write, but at the same time I don't. I find more solace in stealing away for a breath of fresh air, pulling weeds in the garden, or mowing a section of lawn. I can never spare the time to mow the entire stretch of green before I have to head back in to check on my work. But it's those mundane tasks that take my mind off of everything else so I can finally have a little bit of quiet in my brain.

I usually try to drag my wife outside with me. I love spending time with her and when you have a fifteen and a half hour work day behind a closed office door, that isn't much of an option. Sometimes she protests, she's got a schedule of her own, you see. But I generally get the best of her. Some days the shift is 16 hours or 17, and some days you get lucky and can get by with 12 hours instead. But you never really know, and these days the 12 hour shift is a rare gem.

I still need to have my Science Fiction story done by the end of the month. That means first draft written and polished to at least 2nd draft before the next Speculative Fiction Writing Group meeting. Meanwhile, I have my spare moments dreaming about solar panels and wiring up the shed to be totally off-the-grid. I've also got my mind set to build another strawberry patch so I can transplant some of our current stock. The Mrs. makes some delicious strawberry jam and it would be nice to have enough produced by our garden to make a batch or two without having to buy a flat from the store. It may take a few years, but it's very interesting to see how strawberry plants spread. They send out little runners that take root and spring out again and again. It isn't uncommon to see one runner with three or four new rooting strawberry plants attached. Over the winter those vine-like runners die off and crumble away, leaving a few brand new, fully sufficient strawberry plants that will each repeat the process through the course of the summer.

I do need to take pictures of my garden. I would love to share them with you. Of course, we've got a long way to go, but we've made vast improvements over our horrid results last year. Our tomato plants are thriving, with green tomatoes promising a delicious reward for our efforts. The carrots are coming along just fine, the radishes too. We've got onions and peppers, though some bug seems to like the taste of their leaves. The corn is doing much better than last year, though it isn't as tall or as far along as the commercial fields in the area, though I assume that has a lot to do with the fertilizer they use. We've got squash, cantelope, casaba melon, and a few different varieties of watermelon. Not to mention peas, cucumbers, and some tomatillos for salsa.

Outside the garden we've got two peach trees, a nectarine, a pear, four apples, two grapes, and the two hazelnut bushes I got from the Arbor Day Foundation. Yeah, yeah, I'm a nut. Speaking of... wouldn't it be neat if I could add an almond tree to the mix? ;)

So yeah, it's all about finding time to write, which is something I need to do quite badly. I finished my last story in March, it's now inching closer and closer to August. I'm sure the pressure I'm putting on myself isn't really helping much, so I'll try to ease up without slacking off. Any encouraging words would definitely be more than welcome.

Thanks for stopping by! I'll try to add a picture for the writing prompt tomorrow. I've been shutting down my computer at night to save electricity. Maybe after I get this story written I'll start hunting those phantom loads.

Creative Writing Prompt:


Jim Murdoch said...

I don't know about you but more than a few times in my life I've said something along the lines of, "A writer is who I am and not simply something I do." What I mean by that is that you're writing 24/7, whether you're pulling the weeds or driving to work. Putting pen to paper is only a part of the process and there's no point in trying to write before the words are ready. You need to think positively about your non-writing writing times and make the most of them. Thinking about your project is as important as physically writing it. Make sure you have a notepad to hand always and jot down those ideas and notes whenever they come.

Writing is like weight-training, you eat well, rest, exercise, rest and repeat ad infinitum. How much time is spent in exercise in proportion to the rest? So, you read, think about what you've read, write, think about what you've written and repeat. Reading can be replaced by taking in any stimulus and everything is up for grabs. It's why I wrote once, "Writers don't have real lives, they have ongoing research."

Hope some of this helps.

Unknown said...

Thanks Jim, I really appreciate your insight. You make a good point, all this thinking about solar could play well into the story I'm working up.

I'm very happy you drop by, you always have such helpful comments.


Eric S. said...

I know the feeling. Working longer hours than most people can imagine, leaves your system drained. You need to recharge, take a "day" for you and the Mrs and enjoy. The writing will come of its own.

Jim's got a real point to his comment. words to take note of, I'll have to try his suggestions too.

Jena Isle said...

Yes, Jim's got a point which is worth implementing.


Tam said...

Browsing my feeds at the moment, and between Ken's perfect soft-boiled egg and your wife's perfect strawberry jam, I'm feeling a little peckish.

Thanks to Jim, I'll be composing a comment on another blog in my head while I prepare my snack. :)

Hope all goes better in the garden this year Brady.