Monday, October 22, 2012

60/day x 365=n

Can you solve for n?

Whenever I enter into conversations with people regarding a project I’ve finished, I tend to get a consistent response.  Because I’ve recently published Raising Zombies - Family Life in the Modern Age, this conversation has happened more frequently.  It goes something like this:

“Wow!  You just finished a novel/album/sculpture/painting/hand-made 60 foot yacht.  That is so cool.  I wish I had the time to do that.”

The subtext of this type of comment is:

“I wish I had the leisure time that you do to waste on trivial pursuits like a novel/album/sculpture/painting/hand-made 60 foot yacht.  Unfortunately, I have way more important things to do in life like work, family, and sleep.  Must be nice.”

I have not yet found a way to bypass the universal laws of physics.  And if I did, I’d lie and say I hadn’t.  I am forced to operate within a 24 hour-day like everyone else.  “I don’t have the time” is simply a lie people tell themselves when they’re choosing consumption instead of production.  Everything you do with your time is a choice.  If you choose to watch four hours of television per day (average American), that’s your choice.  I choose not to.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love getting lost in the world of “The Walking Dead” every Sunday.  However, I choose to spend 60 minutes/day writing.  I do this every day, and at the end of one calendar year (usually less), I have a completed novel.  In the past three years I’ve written five novels.  I can do this not because I have MORE time than anyone else, but because I CHOOSE what to do with it.  It’s not easy.  I have a wife, two young kids, a full time job, a band, and routine overnight visits from the in-laws.  My 60 minutes often replace an hour of sleep from 4:30-5:30 a.m.  Sometimes those 60 minutes carry over into 120 the next day.  That’s what it takes.

Now back to that equation.  60 minutes/day for one year is 365 hours.  Divide 365 by an 8-hour work day and you have 46 work days, or about 9 work weeks.  Imagine going to the office every day for nine weeks and working solely on your novel/album/sculpture/painting/hand-made 60 foot yacht.  That is the power of commitment and hard work.

I won’t begrudge your decision to follow every reality show this season if you don’t insult my efforts by insinuating I have time to burn that you don’t.

Now go watch “The Walking Dead” and shut up.

4 comments:

  1. hehehe EXACTLY!!! I sometimes work 39 hrs a week and sometimes 55, but still I get up in the morning and I write for a wee while. I have really seen my production amped up since I began doing this. Might possibly get 3 books out this year. One is with an editor now, one is being looked at by editors, and one is in process! I LOVE BEING AN AUTHOR! #GetYourWritingOn

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  2. Right on! Thanks for the comment, SJ.

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  3. I once heard another author say she'd been at a neurologist's office. When the Dr. heard she was an author, he said "I've always wanted to write a book. I think I'll just do that one day." To which she (wittily) snapped back, "That's funny. I've always wanted to try my hand at neurosurgery. I think I'll give that a shot, too." Writing, like any other profession, takes practice and dedication!

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  4. Yup, that's what people don't realize, it's a job, one we love, but still work that requieres dedication, time and some serious effort. Great article!

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