Bill Gates once said, ‘I will always choose a lazy person to do a difficult job… because, he will find an easy way to do it.’
My stepdad is fond of quoting Lucille Ball,
If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.
I am both lazy and extremely busy. This must make me the epitome of productivity.
I’m far from the most productive and capable person, but while I’m not reaching the ‘superwoman’ stages, I have definitely becoming more productive, the more busy I get.
When I think back to my days at Uni, when I had literally all the time in the world – nine hours of lectures a week and no part time job, my only commitments were to come home every other week to visit the Boyfriend… where we would spend a weekend doing nothing together – I often wonder how I managed to write so very little. I wrote my first novel while I was at Uni, yes. But it took me ages. Last year I wrote 50,000 words in November alone, and that was while balancing a full time job and running and every other commitment I now have, and since I’ve started keeping track of my words, I’ve managed between 12,000 and 20,000 in a month. Usually closer to the 20,000 mark. If I’d managed to be that productive at Uni, I probably could have written a novel a month.
I do a demanding job, one that eats into my spare time at home. I’m often tired and often grumpy. But somehow I’ve managed to find time.
My mother says that every time you get accustomed to a level of activity, that’s when you should start doing more stuff. After two years at my job, I was accustomed to the work load. So I started running. And then I started (official and unofficial) Writer’s Club. And then I decided to push myself this year by doing set weekly targets. I don’t always hit them. At time of writing, I still have a short story hanging over my head that I haven’t finished and one I never even started. But if the challenge is there, I’m more likely to step up to it.
I used to be horrendously disorganised, and while I’m still far from perfect, I’ve taken steps to help myself. I have Astrid on my phone (best to-do app ever) and a notebook to store writing targets. I’ve thought about rewards for when I achieve them. I have spreadsheets. All this is helping me find more time and to make better use of it.
I was asked why I feel the need to write. Despite believing I have a fairly solid grasp of the English language, and that I’m usually fairly articulate, I was struggling to put the notion into words. My stepdad compared it to his need to tinker with old bikes. He said for every half an hour he enjoys fixing something on his old bike, he has hours of enjoyment before hand, mulling over the problem, researching solutions, thinking about the tools and skills he’ll need. Writing is the same – for every half hour I sit at my laptop and type, there are hours in the day – during my lunch break, while eating, while washing up, while in the shower or waiting to fall asleep – that are spent thinking about characters, situations, how things are going to pan out, how a character will react. The enjoyments is in those moments, and builds until it becomes a compulsive need to get it down on paper.
And that’s why I always need to find the time, why no matter how challenging the job gets, how long I have to dedicate to other stuff I will always find time. I hope soon it will start paying off, but if it doesn’t, it’s not likely I’ll ever stop.
Some people game, some people fix mouldy old bikes with no brakes and retro eighties racer handlebars.