Honoring the process

January 18, 2008 at 1:46 pm | Posted in Meg, time management, writing | 3 Comments

I’ve been trying to figure out a post to coincide with our topic-of-the-week, but I haven’t found the time (no pun intended). I’m a time juggler and try to cram as much into one moment as I can. While my son is at gym class, I strategize how I can best use that forty-five minutes and cross things off my to-do list. Yet it never seems to work. Something always manages to screw up the plan. Even today, I have the whole afternoon to complete the tasks I needed to do all week, but I never factored in the residual effects of my morning eye appointment and how the dilation drops prevent me from focusing on anything. (Right now, I’m typing this with one eye closed and sunglasses over my regular glasses- not easy and man, the headache!)

So when I think about time management, I laugh. After all, time is the one elusive item that we can’t control. It never changes. You can’t stretch it out or slow it down. It’s never stops to let you take a breath or rewind for a do-over. So how can you manage it? All you can do is manage the activities you do and use the time to the best of your ability. When that comes to my writing, it usually means writing gets pushed aside. There’s never enough time for it.

I’ve heard all the advice about getting just a paragraph on the page each day and it will add up. Writing morning pages or setting a goal, none of that works for me. I never understood why until Jessica passed along a blog to me this week and it all made sense. On the Moody Muses blog, Barbara Tanner Wallace writes about honoring your process and knowing what you need to get the words on the page. Some people can ‘squeeze in’ writing among their daily to-dos. Like sitting in the parking lot waiting for school pick-ups or in between appointments. Productivity happens for every person in a different way.

For me, I need time to write. Yeah, you say, don’t we all. What I mean by that is I need a good block of time set aside to get revved up and ready. I need to reread the last pages I wrote to get back into the mindset of my character. I need uninterrupted quiet to immerse myself in my created world. I need a few moments at the end to return to reality. I can’t squeeze in quality writing in a twenty minute span (unless I have a scene that has to get out so I don’t forget it. And then it’s usually not quality work). I can’t write a paragraph here and another there. It’s not my process.

And in the end, like Barbara said, it’s important to honor your process. Yes, if I don’t find the time to write for weeks on end, that’s okay. I know I will eventually. I’d rather spend the time I do have writing well, then writing something I’ll have to work four times as much to fix. Because in the end, you can’t manage your time, you can only manage what you do with it.




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  1. So true – my process is quiet. Amount of time isn’t a factor 1 min – 3 hours – a day, usually I can jump right in. But if someone is talking, I can’t think (yup, classic introvert)

    This week has been great to see how we all function so differently!

  2. Oh wow, Meg. I’m honored you think I make sense.
    Seriously though, we spend so much time at conferences trying to figure out the rthe key to publication, that we forget there are a thousand right ways to approach our craft As artists, we can’t get so caught up in looking for “the” answer that we forget this. We must be ourselves for our writing to work. This doesn’t mean not trying to write every day, or as often as possible. But it does mean not beating ourselves up because our method is different from everyone else’s. Heck, most of us became writers because we were left of center in the first place. What makes us think the way we approach writing would be any different.

  3. Barb-
    Im flattered you read the blog! Thank you for doing so and for setting me on the right path to stop beating myself up for not writing. It will happen when it can. And yes, I admit to be way far off center as well!

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