Each day I struggle between these conflicting ideas: “Get more done; be more productive” and “Life is short; make sure you enjoy it.” After spending most of the weekend brainstorming ways to carve out more time for writing and promoting (read less news, spend less time cooking/eating, less time on e-mails), I decided to be balanced and make a list of things I want to do for pleasure—then to carve out time for them as well. Here’s my short-term wish list:
Read at least one book each by David Sedaris and Mary Roach. These two funny, nonfiction writers have been on “read someday” list forever. So tomorrow I’ll bike to the library or bookstore (exercising at the same time!) and pick up one of their books. I’ll take it to work with me and read on my lunch break (instead of reading the newspaper I write for). A little humor in the middle of the work day should be a very good thing.
Create artwork on the side of my house. I’ve been thinking about this for a year. Yesterday, I decided to paint a mural. (And no, I’m not an artist. But I wasn’t a novelist until I wrote my first thriller, so what the hell?) Last night I sketched out a rough design. Starting July 11, I plan to paint for at least two hours every Saturday and be done before the rains start in mid-September.
Write a short story. While working out the other day, I came up with a good plot, then made notes. Now I just need to write it. My plan is to give up the tiny bit of TV that I watch after 10 pm. Writing late at night doesn’t usually work well for my novels, but maybe it may be fine for a short story. It can’t hurt to try. Who needs to watch another rerun of Scrubs anyway?
Here’s a few things from my long-term wish list:
- Take metal sculpting classes and create a piece of iron or bronze for our living room.
- Learn to speak Spanish. (I once bought the books and tapes and started a class, then a family tragedy took over my life for a while. Never got back to Spanish lessons.)
- Visit Italy, Greece, and Egypt. (No explanation needed.)
Do you make time for the things you really want to do for pleasure? What are they? What are you waiting for?