My seventh decade on this Big Blue Marble approaches, and thoughts of wasted time are inevitable. I lean towards believing there is no such thing, and that our body and brain do what they do to survive in the moment. I remember the accomplishments and the defeats, and if there is lost time in the journey, nothing comes to mind. None of us can avoid the final roundup, so I promise to use the next twenty or thirty years to their best value.
My hobby is the tool I’ll use to fulfill this promise. I discovered writing in the latter third of my life to date, and the infection settled deep in the bones. I have a WIP gathering dust at the editors, another WIP for publication for after I retire, and an ongoing re-write of a POC published years ago. When Nanowrimo starts in November, I’ll lay down the bricks and mortar the third book of the “A Sheriff in Nevada” series. Yep, that’s some serious writing.
I answered why I’m doing all this, though “lack of sanity” is a fair alternate suggestion. Next in the line-up is “How?”. One word at a time, of course, but there’s a psychological reason, too. My cousin the handsome genius described a psychological condition where some patients live life in a six-to-eight-week cycle not unlike biorhythms. I’ve never been diagnosed with Cyclothymia, but the shoe seems to fit in some instances. Here’s my chess rating over the years.
I can pick how the times where I’m winning games like a maniac and the times where I’m sort of “meh.” My writing follows similar cycles. Sometimes I work like crazy on a WIP, then set it aside for weeks. The popular theory is I should finish what I start, but here comes Mr. Meh. What to do?
When confronted with the impossible, Gunny Highway says:
Adapt, Improvise, Overcome.
– How about I Adapt my level of energy and engagement to the WIP that has my interest?
– How about I improvise and makes notes in Google Docs when I have ideas about one of these ongoing WIPs?
– How about I Overcome popular writing theories and create books on my terms?
Result: less stress about the “right way to do things”, more writing is done, and I don’t worry about the “time well spent” thing.
This methodology requires I keep a string of spinning plates in the air, but I excel at multitasking. We all do, in one way or another. This system works for me as long as I write down ideas as they come to me. Books get written, editors always have something to do, and I find that every day has value. While the plates may fall down someday down the road, today is covered, And that’s the best we all can hope for.