Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quilting with Scraps of Time

Today's post will be short, and you may have noticed that yesterday's post didn't ever come into being.  It's one of those time periods of more travelling and more deadlines and the time crunch that ensues.  It's a time period that makes me think about my writing life and my larger life and what my priorities should be.

I used to have a t-shirt that said, "So many books, so little time."  I still feel that way.  I also feel like there are so many writing projects that I could do and so little time.  How to decide what to do?

Some decisions are easy.  Yesterday I had a deadline for a blog post for the Living Lutheran site.  I was commissioned to write about the holiday of Halloween from a Lutheran point of view.  I know, I know, you didn't think there was a Lutheran point of view!  Well, on Oct. 31, you  can migrate over there to see how I handled it.

So, yesterday, I devoted my writing time to that post.  After all, I get paid for that one.  Other decisions are not so easy.

I have a Ph.D. in British Literature, but I also write poetry.  I'd love a job in a liberal arts college where I could teach both Brit Lit classes and creative writing classes--I'd like that job and so would the rest of the Ph.D.s I know.  So, if I'm thinking about staying marketable, should I need a job in the future, which conferences does it make the most sense to attend?  Should I write papers that analyze literary works or concentrate on my poetry manuscripts?  Or should I think about articles for magazines?

I'd like to arrange to have more readings, both for me and for other writers who deserve audiences.  I'd like to go one step further and create a literary series for my school.  Again, those things take time.

And I'd like to apply for a grant (Sandy Longhorn wrote a great post on that subject and the larger issues of time).  But that takes a surprising amount of time too.

On the one hand, I'm happy to have a rich life that means I need to make these decisions:  do I go to hear an author at Books and Books or do I stay home and write?  Do I apply for a grant or do I use that time to write, which I can do, since I have a full-time job?  And I'm happy that I have so many interests that I never experience writer's block.  Writer's block seems like a luxury to me.  I spend my non-writing time thinking about what I'll be writing when my writing time comes, so that I don't waste a precious scrap of time.

Quilting with scraps of time.  I like that image better than the title of my post I originally used:  time starved.  I'm not starved, I just wish I had more.  Scraps of time crafted into complete cloth--now there's an image I might use during my next poetry writing session!


Justin Evans said...

I know I struggle with a lot of the same stuff. I'm isolated, so I am always wondering how much effort should I put into trying to book readings, how much effort should I put into attending readings, and is it really worth it to try and apply for that workshop?

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks for the shout out and good luck with your quilting of time!