Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Time Management Tuesday: Time Management For Writers With No Time--Begin Again

 For someone who meditates as little as I do, and then primarily with guided meditations so someone is holding my hand and walking me through it, I do enjoy reading about the practice. A meditation book I recently read and liked a great deal is Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris and Jeff Warren with Carlyle Adler. How much did I like it? I read an e-book from my library system and then ordered a hard copy so I could skim it again, mark it up, and label it. Which is something Dan Harris says he does with his meditation books, too.

As I was reading this particular meditation book, I kept thinking that a lot of what Harris and his co-writers were saying could apply to writing, and specifically apply to managing writing time. And thus a new reading arc was born for Time Management Tuesday.

Begin Again.  And Keep On Beginning Again. Then Begin Again Some More.

Early in the book the authors describe a basic, three-step mediation. The third step is the most important, they say. When you're distracted, you begin again.

Now other people have written about beginning again in relation to meditation. I've written about it in relation to writing. But what Harris (I'm going to refer to the authors as Harris from now on, because I'm lazy) does is make a really good argument for it over the clear-the-mind idea many of us have about meditation.

We could make a similar argument for beginning again over ideas many of us have about managing time for writing, too.

The Worst Marketing Campaigns Ever

Harris attributes the general public's understanding of meditation as requiring clearing the mind over beginning again to a poor marketing campaign. Meditation has been "marketed" in the past as an activity that brings practitioners to some kind of otherworldly state, which, evidently, you need a clear mind to achieve. As I'm writing this, I'm wondering what a clear mind would even be. It appears I've never experienced one.

With writing we don't think about the practice of beginning again, because we've been sold the idea of writing every day and placing our butts in chairs to do it.  We like nice turns of phrase in our line of work and while "write every day" is a pretty good one, "butt in chair" is fantastic. It even has an abbreviation, "BIC."  Though I, personally, like the sound and embrace the meaning of "begin again," it may be a hard sell for writers, because it isn't writing specific the way "write every day" and "butt in chair" (because most of us sit to write) are.

Make Begin Again Writing Specific

Here's the thing--no matter what the writing how-to articles say about writing every day and placing your butt in chair, there are going to be times when we can't do it. For some of us, there are going to be many times when we can't do it. It doesn't matter what that writing site/journal or workshop leader tells us. We deal with reality here, where there are day jobs and family and illness and houses falling down around us and cars that need to be serviced.

What we can always do, though, is begin writing again. It doesn't matter whether it's been a day, a week, a month, or many weeks and months. Beginning writing again is always possible.   

That's a huge positive for us. 

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