Work Expands to Fill the Time

I haven’t been posting much lately…  I’m not really sure why.  Inspiration has been elusive.  I think it has something to do with recent world events.  It makes so much of what is going on in my life seem trivial by comparison.  But I recognize that daily life must go on.

One of my biggest concerns when I left my job back in June was that it would be difficult to fill my days once the kids were back in school.  I couldn’t have been more wrong!  I actually find myself busier than ever.  Between getting the kids to/from school and their various activities, volunteering at the kids’ schools, working out, attending my writing class, writing blog posts, and meeting friends for coffee or lunch, I have actually found that there is very little time left over.  And to be honest, it has been great!  I feel happier than I have in a long time.  I no longer feel like I’m drowning the way I did when I was working full-time and trying to juggle everything else in my “spare time”.

Despite this, I know that I need to start carving out a significant amount of time for writing.  I am more convinced than ever that I want to write a book.  But I am also very much aware that it is going to take a lot of work.  I feel like the plot is starting to take shape in my mind.  And I have needed the time and space to allow this to happen.  But I am quickly approaching the point where the rubber meets the road.  I need to stop thinking about this book and start taking action.

I am a planner at heart.  I’m not sure where it comes from…  I might have inherited it from my father.  When he gets an idea in his head, he needs to nail down the details ASAP.  My brother and I have fielded many “urgent” calls and emails over the years as a result.  Or maybe it’s my engineering background that taught me to think through things methodically.  What I know for sure is that I am not the kind of person who will just sit down and write when inspiration hits me.  I need a plan of action and a schedule.

Work expands to fill the time.  I know this to be true.  I am someone who operates best with a certain amount of stress.  I have worked on projects with tight deadlines and others with loose, vague timelines.  The result has always been the same.  I do my best work in the days and hours leading up to the deadline.  It is for this reason that I know I must set an ambitious schedule.

I have read a number of books on writing. Just about all of them advise readers to think about writing as they would a job. Some books suggest setting aside regular hours for writing. Others advise writers to set a daily word count goal – for instance, 1,000 words a day. I’m still trying to work out which strategy is best for me. I’ll keep you posted… Because I also know that communicating the goal to others will help hold me accountable.

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