Time….It’s the one thing in life that doesn’t wait for us. There’s a never ending race to accomplish our chores/activities/goals based around how much time we have or don’t have.
I’m amazed at how much time I used to squander away. Before I became a mother of two children under the age of five, I had so much time but I hardly spent any of it writing. Every morning, I lazily woke up, took a shower, got dressed, and went to work. Over the past 15 years, my “work” has morphed from a temp agency drone to a customer service representative to an executive assistant and finally to an ESL teacher.
When I got home from work, I only wanted to decompress and prepare for the next day. On the weekends, I was out and about in whatever city I lived in hanging out with friends/family/lovers. Rinse and repeat these actions and voila, 15 years has passed since I decided I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.
In the back of my mind, I was a “writer” who couldn’t follow my real passion because I had to pay the bills and I didn’t have enough time to do it all. It’s easy to push a dream to the far away land of your subconscious. You tell yourself that not many people make it in this artistic field. You’d be lucky to sell a thousand copies of your book or sell one screenplay at best.
You convince yourself that it’s easier for people who want to have more tangible careers because they can go to university and actually get a job upon graduation in teaching, medicine or the law. But an artist doesn’t have the same odds. Upon graduation, we start a fake job and try to do our real job on the side. And some of us really do make it. The ones who persevere and do both jobs at the same time waiting for the moment when preparation meets opportunity. But the rest us, we tell ourselves that we’re simply shooting for the stars because it’s a lot harder to face the reality that we’re not using our time wisely to do the impossible.
I should say that I did write a little during the past fifteen years but not nearly as much as I could have. I completed two screenplays and started about a dozen others. I probably started about five different novels but never made it past the first chapter.
Then, something tragic happened in 2011. My mother lost her battle to diabetes at the age of 62. When she died, I finally realized that I was almost out of time. Sure, I was only 33 at the time, but at the rate of my productivity, I would probably complete one more screenplay and start five more different novels by the time I’m 59. I decided it was now or never. I started writing regularly even though I ironically had less time with a shiny newborn by my side. Between working and taking care of my children, I wrote another screenplay and a novella in three years. I’m not saying that’s an amazing amount of work, but for me, I felt like I climbed Mount Everest.
So, here I sit, thinking about how to prioritize my crazy schedule to increase productivity because time doesn’t stop for anyone~~