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.