Monday, January 11, 2010

Time


When we were little, time took longer. It did. Summer vacations lasted forever. Next week was far away. Next month almost unimaginable. We knew we would grow up one day; I can remember figuring out with my friends how old we would be in 2000. But the age seemed unreal. It was simply too far in the future.

I've discovered over my years as a mother, summer vacations also seem to last forever, albeit now, for slightly different reasons.

Now time seems to pass too quickly. How did it become Friday already? Where did last week go? Another year gone by again? For me, this is sad, but true.

When I write is when I've become aware how truly elastic time can be. I look at the clock before I start as I've got children to pick up from school, household errands, chores, etc. Time seems to stay on its regular course as I go through my pre-writing rituals. But when I actually open up the document and start tapping away? (or swearing, depending on my mood) Where does the time go? Suddenly it's an hour later. Or two. I can always tell when (and if) I hit the three hour mark because that's when my brain starts to fry.

I've read blogs or facebook updates or whatever where writers write 'I wrote for 8 hours today'. This always makes me feel very small and somewhat of a pretender. I've never written for that long. Ever. Not even finals were that long. How is this possible? I can get my head around working on my present project for long periods, but not actually writing the whole time. My words would become gobbledegook. My sentence structure would go flying out the window. I know I'd start writing things which amuse the heck out of me, but have absolutely no place in my plot. And then, delete, delete, delete.

I'm sure there are writers out there that can tap away or write away until their fingers bleed. I'm not one of them. Maybe this makes me a poor writer, maybe not. I consider it a triumph just to actually open the document and add to it. Everyone has their own routines. Some people only write on Saturdays. Some add a bit every day. But everyone's 'bit' is different. Is it a chapter? Ten chapters? A paragraph? Is it for as long as you have 'time'?

I just wish time would pass as swiftly when I'm washing the dishes. But no. That time passes as slowly as if I were still little. Proof, I suppose, that time has a sense of humour.

How is your relationship with time?

22 comments:

  1. Time is an elusive mistress. As we get wiser (not older), time slips by ever so fast not letting us enjoy it enough.

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  2. Awful. Every performance evaluation I ever got from an employer always called me out on my poor time management. It seems that the more I have the more I waste it, and then it flies by and I am sorry for living so unconsciously.

    I have to say that it went very slowly this last week, however, and for that I am grateful.

    Now if I can only find where the last ten years went...

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  3. I might write 'for eight hours today' but you can bet that means I started at eight a.m. and wrote maybe two pages an hour, with half of that hour as a break or something. That's just my style. You probably write as much in one short burst of two hours as I do in an entire day.

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  4. time does not exist. Well, nothing does, but in all that nothingness time is profoundly non-existant. This non-existant, no touching, no seeing, no smelling, no tasting, no hearing time therefore is at our disposal - not its. Once that truth is realized one can.../oh merde, I have to get the rest of dinner done - it is after five here in the east.

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  5. I'd heard that time goes faster as we age. I'm finding it to be true. It flies by especially fast when I'm doing the things I love. Elspeth, I think you should stop comparing yourself to other writers. Doesn't matter what or how they do what they do. YOu do what you do the way you do it in time it takes you. That's enough.
    Blessings,
    Karen

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  6. I found that time moves slowly only in airports/airplanes and hospitals, otherwise it whizzes right by me and makes me bundle up all my good intentions for yet another day.

    I can only write for several hours straight and that's if I'm having a good day. Like you, I'm happy if I manage to open the file and add a few words and I'm really happy if the few words turn into a chapter or two.

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  7. Elspeth - Time is such a nebulous concept, isn't it? Not only does it seem that time moves faster as I age (not that *I* age ; ) ), but also, it's not the same time in different places. Time is a lot more contextualized than I used to think it was.

    I'm actually glad you brought that up, beccause it's probably the same for our characters. I think it adds a dose of reality if, for example, a wonderful dinner seems to whisk by at "warp speed," but a horrendous job interview takes five years. Something I will consider as I work on the ol' WIP.

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  8. I'm like you, Elspeth. I can only write for 2-3 hours at a time. Then, Zzzzt!

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  9. Time. Hmmmm. Until recently--read that as now that I'm nearing 61!--time and I were on pretty good terms. It moved at about the right speed. Now, however, it has a life of its own and while I'd like it to slow...it just won't cooperate. Still, It's good to not feel the day drag, or look at the clock every five minutes hoping it's actually been six minutes since last I checked. So, generally, I'm okay with time. Though it's hard to believe a majority of mine is, gulp...gone.

    Best Regards, Galen.
    Imagineering Fiction Blog

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  10. Time moves quickly for me, especially now that I have a child. I look at her and wonder where did my baby go? I can't believe she's almost 2.

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  11. p.s. I also write in 2 hour stretches. I was glad to read there are others who do also.

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  12. For me, two hours is good, three even better. My problem is that time flies so fast I forget to get up and move, stretch, walk around the room. I posted about the resulting aches and pains today.

    Time is definitely going faster now than it did when I was young. I don't understand why writing makes it go even faster.

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  13. Mason; It's all about getting older, isn't it?

    Elisa; If you find them, can you let me know? I seem to have misplaced them as well.

    Stephanie; Thanks for saying that. I feel better.

    Jan; See what happens? You start to get all philosophical and the clock comes and bites you in the ass.
    Karen; You always say such wise things. Thank you.

    Jane; Isn't it wonderful when the paragraphs become chapters? That's a good day.

    Margot; You've made a good point, it would be the same for our characters. Excellent. Another layer of reality. Thank you!

    Alan; What a relief! Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone.

    Galen; I agree it's nice when the day doesn't drag. As for you, my friend, you're going to make trees look young.

    Carolyn; My babies are in high school. Imagine that!

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  14. Patricia; Someone needs to explain that to me too. It's probably something mathematical. I'm doomed.

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  15. I'm just like you. I'd go nuts if I wrote 8 hours on end. Who does that?!

    I'm doing a post on time tomorrow...we're simpatio!

    Elizabeth

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  16. 8 hours??? Not a chance. With my busy life I get excited if I can get 45 whole minutes together in one session! My brain would be unidentifiable after 8 hours. :)

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  17. Time and I are not really good friends. It runs off and leaves me. I never know where it is or what it's doing. It's either early or late but rarely punctual. And today I haven't seen it at all. If I find it, maybe I can at least open the document with my manuscript.

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  18. Eiizabeth; We're soul sisters on opposite coasts! That would be nice! Actually, this has happened with us before. Interesting...

    Jemi; It's good to know others are as befuddled by this notion as I am!

    Carol; "It's either early or late but rarely punctual". Simply brilliant.

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  19. I hear you Elspeth. I had two back to back days to myself this year and was amazed at the words I produced. Do you suppose the limitations on our writing time and energy have any sort of correlation to the demands of our domestic responsibilities?

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  20. Great post. Like you I cannot sustain an eight to ten hour stint at the keyboard. I can do four hours then take a break and do a couple of hours more. But that's it.

    And I remember my grandmother telling me how time passes much faster when you get older. Didn't know what she meant until I actually got older.

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  21. True, time IS elastic, it speeds up and slows down with our change of attitude, emotion, and perspective. An infant is in an eternal "now" - has not even a concept of a "year". As we get older we anticipate annual events. The older you get the faster they come. And each event within any day takes longer or goes faster depending on our emotional/mental/spiritual posture at the "time".

    Marvin D Wilson

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  22. Time flies when I'm writing. Today I sat down at 11 suddenly my daughter knocked on the door asking if I was coming for lunch- it was 3. Got back to it at 3:30 and next time I looked up it was 6.

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