Writing Progress: Week Ending August 11, 2012
Hard to say what happened this week, but I’ll tell you one thing that didn’t:
Book of M:
- Background Notes Wordcount: 0 words
- First Draft Wordcount: 0 words
Grand Total: 0 words
That’s right. Writing. It didn’t happen this week. I guess there was a lot of exhaustion on the part of both myself and Dear Wife. We did watch some Olympics, but less this week than last (the events we were primarily interested had already played out by the weekend). And we did do some work on the Home Project. But not as much as we really ought to have done.
Some weeks go that way, I suppose. More lately than we have in the past. It’s gotten me thinking this week about where the time actually all goes. What happens from day to day that keeps me from spending time doing anything productive – whether that’s writing, or Home Project stuff.
I guess, on a typical day, I get home from work around 6:00 to 6:30. There isn’t that much time – maybe a half hour, maybe an hour – to spend with my son. Sometimes we get dinner at about 7:00-ish. Then, before you know it, B.T. is getting ready for bed. By the time he’s falling asleep, it’s 8:30. Some days, Dear Wife and I are just then sitting down to dinner. But even if we got dinner earlier, there are dishes to do. Then getting ready for the next day – making and packing lunches, picking up just a little around the house, running loads of laundry, ironing shirts and so on. You know, all the little things involved in running a household that add up to a big chunk of time. If we’re lucky, it’s only 9:00 on a good day, and this is when I’d sit down to write, or we’d get started on Home Project activities. More often than not it’s well past 9:00. And we’re aiming to be winding down and bedward-bound by 10:00, because like most days we have an early start the next way.
Round and round we go.
Theoretically, then, on a good day, I’ve got a good hour of writing in the evening. But the good days are rare, and if it’s much past 9:00 before I get to start thinking about writing my brain is already shutting down for the night, and it’s too late to be useful or productive. When you add to this the fact that my laptop is painfully slow – and when I say painfully, I mean it in the most acutely painful way I can say it, with the machine taking upwards of 5-15 minutes to get to a point where it’s responding to my input (yes, I’m running Windows Vista; and on a 100 GB hard-drive that’s 90% full over half of that is Program Files and Windows updates) - there’s really very little if any time and brain-space for writing.
I’ve read a lot about how busy writers with lives and day jobs should be taking advantage of all the little interstices of life – the five minutes here, the ten minutes there – to get productive and write. For me, that’s simply not a feasible, not even a possible suggestion (at least not until I can afford a writing machine that is substantially more responsive and quick-to-load, which isn’t going to happen any time soon given current Casa Chez Watkins household budgeting constraints, what with the status of the Home Project and all).
So yeah… I still look for hour-plus blocks of time if I’m going to have anything approaching measurable writing productivity. And it needs to be distraction-free time, which is a tall order in any household home to a toddler. Large blocks of distraction-free time that occur early enough in the evening to pre-empt the late evening brain shut-down macros are, perhaps unsurprisingly, hard to come by.
All of which comes off as plaintive whining to anyone who’s managed to work around these kinds of constraints, and especially to those who have beaten even tougher constraints. To which I can only say: congratulations to you. But every person’s situation is unique to them. And most of those who have beaten many of these conditions have had, it seems to me, advantages I have not: they write faster, or they read faster, or they have strong family-support-systems that are finely calibrated to their particular writing needs, and so on. I’m a slow writer and a slow reader and I work pretty hard to support my family and not the other way around. So, for me, these things add up and I’m not able to beat them the way other writers have.
All of which is a long, long way of saying this last week was like many other such weeks I’ve had and like many I’ll have in the future: entirely unproductive on the writing front.
How was your week?