…you’re a long time dead!
Is it me, or are we living in a world where everything gets faster? That makes me sound (and feel) ancient, but I’ve come to realise that most of us spend most of our time rushing through life.
I’m no exception. I want the next two weeks to disappear in as little time as possible, please. Lovely Boyfriend will be home and we’ll then be on holiday together in Malta. But do I want the following week to disappear just as quickly? Of course not.
Unless I forgot to check my email again, nobody’s appointment me Grand TimeKeeper. Nobody’s granted me the power to speed up or slow down time. I’ve got 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, the same as every other person in the world. Shouldn’t I just make the most of them, whatever’s happening?
Porglet Maximus is wishing away today and tomorrow, because tomorrow night she’s having her best friend over to play for the first time ever. Apparently, said best friend has been wishing the entire week away! I hope the actual experience lives up to their expectations, otherwise I’m going to have a disappointed wee girl on my hands all weekend.
Porglet Minimus tends to live quite happily from day to day. She doesn’t yet have a solid grasp of time. Yesterday often means “last week”, and an hour is “aaaaages” to wait at the same time. I wish some grown ups would take that same view, instead of wishing their kids’ lives away.
A fellow mum in the playground is making herself miserable because she’s discovered that Minimus is in a more advanced reading group than her son. It’s nothing major; we’re talking Oxford Reading Tree Stages 3 and 4, not Charles Dickens versus Roald Dahl! She’s been quizzing me on my reading/bullying techniques and was most miffed when I said I simply sat down with Minimus twice a week and gave her lavish praise when she got it right. This mum has now spent two weeks nagging and pushing her son to strive beyond his current position in the classroom, making him sulky and annoyed and herself extremely unhappy. All because she wants to rush him onwards in the growing-up game.
It’s the same with my writing. I seem to have fallen into a cycle of writing one book every year, using NaNoWriMo to try something new. I’ve spent a few weeks editing and rewriting my new “Martha” chapters and still have 5 more of them to polish off before I’m happy with my new “first draft”. I wondered, yesterday, if I shouldn’t be pushing on with the next character, “Steve”. If I want to finish the draft by October/November, I’ve got a lot of work to do between now and then…that was my thinking. Until I realised that the only deadline was the one in my head.
Why was I rushing through the experience? Why was I prepared to let the quality slide, simply to meet an artificial deadline? I wonder if too many new authors are falling into that very same trap. We all feel we have to write a book a year these days, in order to prove ourselves to the publishers. If I keep on writing a book a year, I’ll beat J.K.Rowling’s total output by the time I’m 40! I’ll also have run out of ideas by the time I’m 37…
What am I trying to prove? Why am I trying to rush through my writing? Everyone knows your writing improves the longer you leave it between drafts.
So, today, instead of worrying about meeting my self-imposed deadline, I’m taking the morning off. I had planned to go for a lovely walk in the sunshine, but have changed my mind after the school run. It’s FREEZING; there’s actually snow falling in the hills and boy, I can feel it in the wind! I daresay I’ll edit a chapter or two as well, but I’m going to take the time to enjoy today, rather than throwing it away and getting stressed if I don’t meet my “target”.
Whatever you’re doing today; slow down. Enjoy it. Don’t wish time away because you’ll never get it back.