Eight weeks after the second day of the new year
Author means to say that this post is about time, not that anything happened. Well, not yet at least. It’s just that Author can now look back on her work on the book she’s been preparing for you, and then look ahead, to the next one, all ready for work on her desk and desktop. And looking back means looking back not on days, nor weeks, but on months of work past, while looking forward means looking at the days, weeks, most probably months of work ahead. Which is why time is on her mind, time and the work it takes to create a good book.
Time has a way of running away from us, and we chase it. The pace of life is accelerating, increasingly harder to keep up with. And so we rush. But some things should not be rushed. Reading a good book is one of them. Writing one is another. A book, from beginning to end, is hard work. Think about it. Whenever you read a good book, whenever you find yourself deeply immersed in the words, in the plot, whenever you say to yourself, “I’m enjoying reading this, it’s well written, well done”, that’s when you know someone had put a whole lot of work into that creation you’re holding. And if you’re a writer, then, for your book, that someone is you. And if you want people to look at your creation with the same respect you do others’, you need to put in the time. If you take pride in what you do, you simply have got to put in the time. Crafting your story, then making sure it is laid out for your readers to comfortably enjoy, that takes work. It takes time. Writing a book isn’t about how fast you can do it. It is about how well you can do it. For your readers, and for yourself.
When you take your writing seriously, you put a lot of effort into it, and serious effort requires serious time. Before you know it, months have passed while you were working on your story, crafting thoughts into words, perhaps researching. Rethinking, finalizing. But if you have a deadline in your mind—maybe you want your book out by a certain date, or someone is prodding, making you think you should hurry—you might begin to question whether you should be giving time to certain tasks, such as rereading or spellchecking again or whatever other task you feel needs to be done. The question your mind will throw at you will then be, “Is this time that should be spent?”. If that happens, ask yourself this: when the time comes and your book is out there for all to see, will that, the task you’re debating yourself about now, will it have been time well spent? If you don’t do it, will your creation suffer? Will you be able to look at your book with the pride and satisfaction you want to be able to look at it with? Let that be your guide.
There is never enough time, and there is always too much pressure. Author and Sister are both feeling it, too. Author with her writing and all that it entails, and Sister with her immensely diverse marketing-PR tasks. And these two realms do mix at times, such as when Author asks Sister to read something she has written or when a book is about to be published and Sister needs Author to participate in certain publicity aspects, which only adds work to both, pressures them to take more time. The pressure never stops, it only fluctuates, and time never stops running, it just decelerates at times, giving you a reprieve.
But that book, that is what you do. It is your creation and it should be given the time it needs. So balance your time, be smart about it, but don’t let it be a debilitating source of pressure. If worry about time is constantly in the back of your mind, competing with the needs of that book you want to do your best with, it just might hurt your work. Not to mention stress you out, which in itself can reduce your focus, so that you might miss things, make the kind of mistakes that would either make your creation less than what you want it to be or set you back, resulting in you having even less time to do what you set out for yourself. Easier said than done, of course, but the answer to that, Author supposes, is experience.
Author and Sister’s tip: Read this post again.