Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Balancing Act

Stances with an Hourglass,
Ilya Zomb,
oil on canvas, 1999.


The right place at the right time.

Finding time.

Time lines. Time sucks.

The future. The past. Opportunity and regret.

We travel in it. A constant always in flux.

Over at Romancing the Blog, (August 10 entry) author Jordan Summers posted a timely bit of advice. Reminding us not to be diverted by all the "flashy shiny stuff."

The search for the perfect bookmark, emails, blogging, loops - all the busy details of promotion - are damall without a product to present.

Writing comes first.

Another writer ( I'm very sorry I don't remember who and where) recently posted an excellent question on the same theme, ie. what is writing work and what is busy work.

Perhaps a purist would decide that even agent query, though absolutely necessary, is secondary in the division of time. Perhaps because of the temptation to dream time, imagining the offers, the perfect cover.

One can argue all day about such divisions, definitions and restrictions, but the basic point remains unassailable.
Writing must come first.


Ric said...

Early on a Wednesday morning, Bernita sends me to the dictionary looking for damall - alas, with no results. ??
Please note that looking for words that may or may not exist is also the same thing as looking for shiny bits. Putting the cart before the horse. Not doing the writing, not getting any product to sell.
Sometimes, it's good to point out the obvious.

writtenwyrdd said...

Some people work better for the little time wasters, IMO. For example, you find an obsessive need to sharpen all your pencils RIGHT NOW. But when you are done, you have solved a dilemma that has been bugging you.

I honestly think that not all sideways or Brownian motion is useless. Sometimes it is your subconscious distracting you so it can solve a problem or two!

Besides, says Ms. ADD, some of us just cannot help it!

Bernita said...

Not to mention the time I wasted wondering whether I should write 'damn all" or do the verbal, Ric!

Very true, Written.
Nevertheless.Seductive excuses. They are legion. Priorities.

writtenwyrdd said...

You can't have just one, to paraphrase the commercial. Find one excuse, a second is ready in the wings to seduce you away...

Jaye Wells said...

I need to be better about this with friends. Instead of saying I'm just writing and can talk, I need to ignore the siren call of gossip and distraction.

Bernita said...

No one is more apt at justifications than a writer, Written.

Definitely a temptation, Jaye.

raine said...

Bernita, both you--and Jordan--are spot on.
If I had as many reasons TO write as I imagine I have NOT to, I'd be a very prolific author, lol.
As it is, I only have one. I love to write.
Wouldn't you think that'd be enough?

Dave said...

You reminded me today of Miss Snark's nearly constant reminder about good writing trumps all else.

Bernita said...

Raine, you write beautifully. You really do.
It's amazing how often all the do this/do that advice can serve to divert us from our primary goal.
Of course, it's not intended to - we let it.

And we can't produce enough "good," or become good, Dave, if we always disperse our energy into the busy, shiny stuff.

Kate Thornton said...

Well, Bernita, if it weren't for trying to write - and trying not to - I wouldn't ever do laundry. Or watch TV. Or do a million other things that ultimately give me grist for the writing mill. Okay, laundry is not exactly grist...!

Bernita said...

Kate, verily one may well absorb inspiration from the lint trap and catelogue useful expressions from actors on CSI.
But the point is not the necessary functions that limit our writing time, but how we spend that writing time.

The Anti-Wife said...

For me life comes first. That's what sparks the ideas and stimulates my imagination. I need the lapses to keep me fresh.

Bernita said...

Of course, AW.
I do not advocate writerly obsession to the exclusion of all else. Merely a suggestion to watch the frittery stuff during the time allotted.

Church Lady said...

When my children are back in school, I will own my routine again. I simply can't wait.

I hope to put the brakes on the amount of time I spend on blogs. It's one of the easiest time-sucks (at least for me!)


Charles Gramlich said...

A piece of advice we would all do well to remember. I know I forget it a bit too often.

Anonymous said...

Aw, man.

But blogging is so much fun...

Demon Hunter said...

Great post and great point, Bernita. Thanks. Writing must come first. I know I procrastinate far too much, and it's so easy to become dsitracted, that's why I have begun setting schedules and deadlines for myself.

Bernita said...

I know, Chris. Blogs are like a candy store to my kiddie self.Wheee!

Yes, it's good, Charles. And makes me grumpy just to think of it.

I'd have a hard time reducing blogging, Seeley.
Think I'll consider blogging "research."

Remember, my Demon, not to become a slave to your self-control.

Dave said...

I'm not sure how to ask this because I only want a simple yes or no answer and it is a very odd question, but do you ever make chicken soup or stock?

Bernita said...

Yes, Dave, I have.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes procrastination is just that. Other times it is buying time for the brain to flip a useful card that will fill the not-quite-perceived hole in the hand.

15 years in the corporaverse has taught me that whenever I'm really avoiding doing something there's a good reason why. But the best cure I have when I don't wanna write is to write ... lists, reminders, nags. Get my personal view of the future in order. Then I feel safe to spew words without the nagging feeling I'm missing something important.

On vacation and having a much-earned drink after cleaning out the storage closet. I suspect I could aspire to be a lush if I didn't have so much crap to do.


Bernita said...

"Sometimes procrastination is just that. Other times it is buying time for the brain to flip a useful card that will fill the not-quite-perceived hole in the hand."
Very well put, Asa!

J. H. Bográn said...

A second wasted is never recovered, or something along those lines. I fervently agree with you Bernita. And yes, writing must come first, I mean, what is the point in have a great promotional and distribution chain in place if there is NO PRODUCT to show! BTW, I love the painting!

EA Monroe said...

Hi Bernita! I enjoyed your post. I goof off enough anyway. That's one reason I haven't been writing blog posts lately, but at least it's writing. Sort of. At the rate I'm going these days, writing anything is doing good for me!

Bernita said...

And it is too easy to lose sight of that, Jose.

"Chipping stone for the pharaoh" is one of those priorities, Elizabeth.

spyscribbler said...

At the moment, I'm trying to ignore the rising panic over not having written for so long. Three more days!

At least, I'm still writing my little haikus at night! *giggle*

Bernita said...

Just because it's not prose, Natasha, does not mean it's not writing.