An Appointment to Write

Clickety-click clickety-click clickety-click…

“Honey!”

Great, no sleep for weary…

“Yes, dear?”

“What’s for dinner?”

Is it really my night? Yikes!

The Comptroller

The Comptroller

I found time! So, let’s get this blog underway. While the welcome post from last week was groovy, we want some real meat on this bone!

As my somewhat humorous vignettes above illustrate, we are often conflicted for our time. This prevents us from pursuing our dreams, in this case, writing. If it isn’t dinner, it is the kids, the dogs, the neighbors, our significant others, etc, etc, ad nauseam. So when is a person to write?

Time is a factor, but we can analyze the good news if we were allotted the time each week. Let’s play with some math, I do teach math after all, to calculate some very optimistic goals we can achieve. First, if we were to write two pages an hour, that’s conservatively about 1000 words or 17 words per minute (my typing test in the Army was 40 wpm), then you could produce about six pages per week if you had three hours to write.

Now, multiply that times fifty-two weeks in the year, and you could write three hundred and twelve pages per year. Keep in mind, pages with a lot of dialog would have even fewer words, thus more pages could be produced. For non-fiction, you might also have less words per page, thus increasing your output within that year. So, in reality, if you could spend three hours per week writing, you could produce a novel in a year. That is great news!

Of course, it is only great news if you had three hours a week to write. Fear not, we have a solution! You see, we all have outside pressures and responsibilities that keep us busy, but we have more play room than we think. There is a reality in life that whatever time we have will be filled. In other words, it doesn’t matter what things must be done, they will fill whatever time we have to do them in.

It seems counter-intuitive, but if we add one more thing to our list of things to do, we can still do it in the same amount of time we had been doing it in. The difference is prioritization. Yes, a big word that has powerful and mystical meanings:-) Just kidding. But seriously, we always do the things that have the highest prioritization.

For example, we would never decide not to pick up our parents from the airport because we were too busy, or not buy groceries for the week because we were too busy to eat. No, these are things we set at high priority because they are important to us. Eureka! So if writing was a priority to us, then we would ensure we did it every week! (connect dots, ah-hah, etc.)

You must decide, right here and right now, is writing a priority in your life or just a passing fad? Okay, you don’t have to decide right now, but you should think long and hard about it. If it doesn’t warrant a priority like grocery shopping or mowing the lawn, then it isn’t really important to you, and you should find another hobby like, Entomology (easy to do while mowing lawn).

However, if it is important to you, then make an appointment to write. Yes, like an appointment for work, or for the doctor’s, or the dentist. You see, if you set the priority high, then make a weekly appointment to write, you will have the time to complete that novel or whatever you want to write.

But wait, I hear your complaints: my spouse won’t let me do that, I don’t have any open slots in my week, my week changes daily, blah, blah, blah…These are all excuses, which are a strong indicator that writing is not a priority to you, in which case you can refer back to the earlier paragraph about Entomology.

Look, I am not going to lie, spousal or significant other buy-in for this appointment is important, and you must be honest and up-front with them before you begin. Assuming they agree to this “hobby” of yours, make the appointment and then keep it like your church service! If not, then you are not really serious, or you have a significant other who does not understand your passion. I don’t recommend divorce or break-up if the latter is the case, but counseling might help! Maybe Dr. Phil.

So you have permission from your “Comptroller” to pursue your dream, but when do you make the appointment? That is up to you, and you may need to be creative. I read about one author who gets up everyday at 4 AM and writes until 7 or 8 AM. Talk about committed! My writing appointments are Tuesday evenings (writing club that night) and Saturday and/or Sunday mornings. Sometimes I get up at 5 AM on Saturdays (my normal work hours) and write until 8 or 9 AM. You decide, but make your appointment and keep it!

All of this is spelled out succinctly in my book, even in the free first edition. But you just read it here, and it is just as true here as in the book. You must decide if writing is your passion, your catharsis, your great contribution to this world, and if it is, you must make time to pursue it. Don’t wait to be the person who says, ‘I once wanted to write, but…’. Be the person who says, I will be an author, and I will write every week during my Appointment to Write!

Hooray! Sigh, now to make dinner

Norm

Let the writing begin!

 

Clickety-click clickety-click clickety-click…

“Daddy!”

Oh, boy…now what?

“Yes, honey!”

“Tori keeps taking my pictures!”

Sigh…here we go…

Tori the terrible.

Tori the terrible.

Welcome to the new blog titled “Why Can’t I Get Anything Done?”. This blog is the logical follow on to the book of the same name and will contain similar material as presented in the book. Of course, the book will always have the most detailed information, but sometimes the blog will present something new that will make it into a subsequent edition of the book.

So what is the blog about, you might ask? Simple, it is a collection of tips and techniques to make you more efficient in your writing and in your publishing. Now, don’t start thinking this will give you tried and true techniques that will land you a big publisher contract, because there are plenty of trade magazines that will do that. No, this is for the DIY author who loves controlling their own work from start to finish.

So, who am I to tell you how things should be done? Well, I have been in the military, worked as an engineer in the high-tech fields, and currently teach mathematics in a local high school. How does that qualify me? First, I have developed easy processes that help bring sanity to an insane world, and second, I love to tinker with technology, so I play with it first and then bring it to you. You could say I am an efficiency expert with a slant towards technology.

Along the way to helping you achieve your publishing dreams, I will entertain with short vignettes of anecdotal stories about why I can’t get anything done. You may relate to this yourself, assuming you don’t live alone and do nothing but write. My life is very full, and while I love it dearly, it easily takes me away from my passion, writing.

Between my lovely wife, our house, my job, our dog, our two kids, my orchids, my mountain bike, my golf clubs, my friends, and my XBox, I always have plenty to distract me. My fabulous daughters, Empress Erika and Tori the Terrible, are a constant source of distractions except when napping. My wife, very understanding about my “hobby”, has her own ways of distracting me, some of them I don’t mind so much. They are a magical part of my life, and despite the distractions, they are an inspiration for my work.

Oh, did I also mention I write novels? Three published to date, the fourth struggling to get traction (I’ve been busy)! Okay, yes, I need to take my own advice, but I’m working on it. They are part of a Science Fiction series which I hope to follow up next year with an Urban Fantasy series. Hey, maybe the train has left the station, but I am sure I can still hitch a ride!

So sit back, relax, subscribe to the RSS feed, and prepare for entertaining DIY information to help you pursue your publishing dreams. I’ll try to update the blog monthly, but sometimes life will get in the way of even that. However, for most of the year, it should be regular as clockwork (see picture at top to understand pun). Since I teach for a living, yes, writing hasn’t been profitable enough, I do get summers off so I may throw out an extra blog or two during those months. Keep tuned in and keep writing, no matter what!

Can’t wait for the blog? Well, you could always buy the book first and see what you think! Either way, if you want to publish your work without others to get in the way, then find out why you can’t get anything done and learn how to work around life to fulfill your publishing dreams!

Norm