Mayday

It’s been tough to regain my post-vacation footing in terms of cramming everything I want to get done into a single day. When you’re on vacation, time exists as little more than a backdrop for your exploits, a guidepost for when to eat and sleep. Now I’m struggling to budget my time as I had been doing, with the eight-hour workday digging in to my time like a stitch in the side.

Yesterday I got home from work and immediately launched into the final routine for the Spark Challenge I mentioned before, which earned me a snazzy new badge for my Fitocracy page. In between activities and circuits I picked up clothes and vacuumed our bedroom floor, which had sorely needed some attention. I ended up vacuuming our dining room and our kitchen as well while I was at it. Then I did the teeniest bit of catching up on Facebook, washed some dishes, cooked up some squash and some brownies, did more dishes, ate leftovers with Colin, and then settled in to watch a few chill-out episodes of “Bones.” I’ve found myself watching this show whenever I want to put something mildly entertaining on that doesn’t require a lot of thinking. (And not waste time browsing Netflix instant in a fit of indecisiveness.) The consistency of having a new case to solve is comforting, in the way that each new death in the beginning of “Six Feet Under” was intriguing (though “Six Feet Under” was a far better show with greater depth of character, snappy writing, complexity of story line, etc.). It’s reliable and easy, and doesn’t require a whole lot of thought.

At any rate, sometime into the third episode I zonked out though it was only 9:30. I had woken up early yesterday and done some writing, but hadn’t published it. It still felt formless, meandering, and I hadn’t felt like expending the energy to prod it into shape. Trying to write anytime after 4:00 in the afternoon is useless for me; I know my best writing time is in the morning when I’m fresh and alert. And yet so much of my weekday morning is devoted to work. I’m glad to have this lonely hour to devote to writing, but right now it doesn’t feel like enough. Maybe it’s primarily because I feel like I’m playing catch-up trying to sort through what I want to write about on a daily basis and what I feel I should be writing about to solidify my vacation experiences into a coherent narrative. I’ve just had a week’s worth of adventures in various nations and I know I’ll want to dawdle over the words I choose for each day’s entry.

I think what’s also bringing this up is having read Julia Alvarez’s Something to Declare last week. In one of the essays, she relates her typical day, which includes this lush eight-hour (or so) stretch of writing time. She is a full-time writer, having resigned from her tenured teaching position so that she can devote her time fully to writing. Incredible. She writes until about 2 or 3 in the afternoon and then goes for a run and then spends the rest of her time doing whatever else–responding to mail, cooking dinner, spending time with her husband, reading. What an absurd luxury! Having the chops as a writer means you can pretty much do whatever you want with your time. Obviously, in getting there, every writer had to balance their full-time responsibilities with their writing time. Perhaps I’m not devoting enough time to my writing. I know I don’t carve out enough time to just sit with the blank page and wait for inspiration; to be ready for the creative burst rather than catering to it when it comes.

So, new goal for May: carve out some creative writing time. In addition to keeping this blog going, spend some time with my words. I don’t know yet when I’ll find the time for this (weekends?) or how much time I can accurately devote to it (30 minutes a day? 2 hours a week?). But I’ll get there.

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