Making Time for Real Life

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?

8 Comments
  1. Great post, LJ – there’s such a welter of “how to write” stuff out there – but so much of it comes down to finding a balance – whatever your balance is.

    Love your idea of doing art! Fearlessly going where no novelist has gone before – well, where perhaps only a few novelists have gone before.

    Have you considered doing flash fiction? Familiar with the genre? It’s cool, fast and distinctly. . .not easy. But fun!

    All the best.

    Cheers

    -Jeff

  2. Ooooh, good question. I want to make time to READ! (Somehow this gets lost in life, writing, and everything else.) See a play at Berkeley Rep. Get back to Colorado. Visit Vancouver someday. I should make a list, that’s a good idea, LJ. When not written down, wishes tend to remain quite ethereal…

  3. I need more time to read and write. I have four-year-old twins, who keep me pretty busy, but eventually they’ll be in school… 😉

    If you know any romance writers looking for a critique group, send them to my blog. I’m hosting a contest. Thanks.

    Lynnette Labelle

    http://lynnettelabelle.blogspot.com

  4. I juggle so many things that what I need to find more time for always happens to be what I’m not doing at the moment. I want to spend more time horseback riding, gardening, visiting friends and family, writing, reading, and generating income. Not in any particular order. But it always seems that if I’m doing one of those things, I think I need to be/should be/would rather be doing one or more of the others.

  5. Your long term wish list looks a bit like mine, LJ!

    And I know how you feel. It’s all about time management. Being a freelance editor working in my home office, I can apportion my time better than most, so have a schedule I created by which I can write (early mornings) read & edit (afternoons/work) and still have time for any number of other activities late afternoon and evenings.

    Hope you find the time to squeeze it all in. 🙂

  6. I have so little free time, I haven’t thought about what I’d do with it if I did. Maybe take singing lessons. That’s on my bucket list. Not to sing in a band, but just so I’m less sucky than I am now.

    Helen
    Straight From Hel

  7. Play more music and sing – daily! Learn to grow orchids. Do more yoga. Grow and dry more herbs. Maybe stop writing entirely for a while because it’s no fun anymore. Learn to play poker! Make a pair of leather shoes. I need to find something more social, as I tend to be way too solitary..

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