There are times when I wish it was possible to snag more time with a butterfly net.
Time certainly flits away as though powered by wings, and if it must have wings, let’s make them pretty wings, right? Hmm, maybe dragonfly wings.
Whatever sort they are, time is as elusive as a butterfly when one doesn’t have a net to swish.
Take the weeds in my non-existent flower beds. I’ve been meaning to yank them out for a long time. Like Spring and here it is closing on Fall. As you can imagine, some are quite tall, and some need a saw because their stems are looking branch-like.
While I’m sure this has you saying, “boy, am I glad I don’t live next door to Beth!”, the view of some of these monstrosities is blocked by the car in the driveway and integrated with some hostas that are healthy enough to disguise the weeds. Still, I know they are there.
I’ve even got reasons why they haven’t been dealt with. Good reasons!
Good reason #1:
The week before Easter, before most weeds began to settle in, I broke my foot. Not on purpose. I stood up from the sofa, my foot turned over and I heard CRACK! Hello, emergency room. And if you’ve had to sit with anyone in an emergency room waiting room, you know that time creeps by, but it isn’t time that you can use doing anything. Even if you brought a book with you. Every time they call a name, you get distracted. And irritated that it isn’t your name.
In any case, I left with crutches, lots of mummy wrappings and the number of a bone doctor to call. He gave me one of those bulky, heavy, uncomfortable boots to wear. I stopped and bought a walker because I nearly fell over with the crutches a time too many. My orders from the doctor were: keep your foot elevated and stay off it as much as possible.
Oddly enough, that kept me from dealing with those baby weeds. They’d passed into weed adulthood by the time I was able to get around without medical doodads.
Good reason #2:
I had a book due to my publisher. Now, because I couldn’t sit at the computer with my foot raised (and believe you me, I tried!) it wasn’t the manuscript but naps and marathoning shows on Netflix that kept me sane. Well, relatively. Had to ask if my deadline could be pushed back two months, which, fortunately, they said, “no problem.”
The problem arrived when it was possible to spend the long hours at the computer. Seems I’d lost track of the story. I’m a 75% (or more) Pantser and it was tough to get back into the story even though I knew how it ended. Had a few panic sessions over that as…yep, you guessed it…time was flitting by. Anyway, when weighted against the deadline, the weeds were not in contention for my time.
Good reason #3:
I hate hot weather and this summer was day after day of extremely hot weather. I also hate the sun – yes, I know it’s pretty and lots of people adore it, but I hate it. It makes an already sweltering day even hotter. It makes me squint behind sunglasses. It makes everyone sweat – I hate sweating. Ergo, I hoped that the weeds would just wither and die because it’s what would happen to me probably if I went outside to deal with them.
Good reason #4:
Actually, I hate gardening. I know there are lots of people who love it. I’m not one of them. The things I have purchased in the past have all died. I believe I have a black thumb. If only the weeds recognized that. It’s why I have evergreens and mulch. The weeds apparently don’t realize that the mulch was not put there for them to grow in.
So, I let the weeds fend for themselves. I don’t know what the neighbors do to not have weeds, because I never see anyone in their yards when I look out the window, but no one snuck up to my house to rip my weeds out. Odd, huh.
The weeds may have grown but I met the new deadline on the new manuscript. I also reedited the manuscript before it based on editor comments. I wrote a novelette to a deadline. I made it to every doctor’s appointment. Had to cancel out on the conference I was supposed to attend as there was too much walking involved so the doctor vetoed it. Missed two writers group meetings but again those were related to not being able to do steps well or a long walk was involved from a parking lot, so it was just one month messed up. Well, maybe six weeks.
I rewatched, for the 3rd time, all 20 seasons of MIDSOMER MURDERS. As I am writing more mystery into stories, I considered it reference watching for fictional crime solving ideas.
My mind did a lot of flitting about (butterfly style) about the manuscripts to follow the one I was working on. So, yes, I looked like I was staring into space, but as I wasn’t snoring, I was working. Staring into space is all part of the process.
Yes, the weeds languished, if continuing to grow can be considered “languishing”, but the elements of telling stories only stumbled those first weeks with the bummed-out foot.
It rained overnight one day this past week and the temperatures were actually in the 60s at 9a.m. Because more rain was expected, the sky was heavy with clouds. Not a glint of sun anywhere. I went looking for my gardening gloves.
The conditions were right though.
#1: It was cool out.
#2: It was cloudy.
#3: There was no sun shining.
#4: The overnight rain had made the ground soft.
I only lasted 30 minutes as it started to rain again but the only weeds that didn’t get pulled can pass at a distance as groundcover and they had no blooms to seed other yards, either. The next day the sun came back, the temperatures rose, and the weeds that remained went into mourning for their yanked-out friends.
Now, why was all of this something worth relating? It shows that priorities and perseverance is what is most important when you are a writer. It shows that when you don’t want to do something there are a heck of a lot of reasons you can come up with to not do it.
Weeding was not my priority. Writing was. And even when it was impossible to sit at the computer to work on the manuscript that was due, there were other things I could do that related back to writing. I might not have been at the keyboard that first month, but I had a notebook at hand to jot down notes on things yet to be written. On steps and quirks that could be taken in solving a fictional mystery.
I also edited what I already had written. (Printed it out so I could write all over it away from the computer.)
In fact, although there were weeks of not adding words to the manuscript in progress, the first half of the story ended up extremely well edited. It saved time when I finished the tale and started reading for the final edit.
I’d still like to catch more time in a butterfly net at times, but as long as I persevere in ways that benefit the end result and set those priorities, it isn’t writing time that languishes. It’s just the weeds.
Oddly enough, I have lots of ways that I find time to devoted to my writing career. To learn them, join me for the upcoming September workshop: Steal Writing Time Back: Whopping the Procrastination Demon – here at Savvy Authors!
Although she’s had “prequel” novellas available at Amazon since last year, the first of the Raven Tale novels, Raven’s Moon, launches from Burns and Lea Books October 8th this year.