We live by the clock. We have watches, cell phones with clocks, clocks on the wall, reminders and even annoying little beeping sounds that come from our computers reminding us of the time. It’s enough to drive you a little nuts. I myself tend to over compensate for time and deadlines. I am a “scheduler”…one of those people who try to schedule out my time so that I am spending time on many projects instead of getting mired down on one. I like to think that doing this keeps me sane but lately I have been wondering if I am doing myself more harm than good.
I had a writer friend tell me that other day that she killed her clock. When I laughed she said, “no, really, I did…I killed it”. When I pushed for an explanation she told me that she had decided to try to write at least one day a week with no time constraints. She would get up on a designated morning and just work on whatever came to mind. She told me that on that first day she did better writing than she had in almost a year. She explained that without the time constraints she didn’t feel anxious but instead felt free to do what she wanted to do. She just let it flow and when it did, it was beautiful.
She did go on to explain that she only did this new “dead time” writing once a week because she still had other projects to take care of that did require deadlines but for at least one day a week she now has her “dead time” writing. I had to try it so yesterday I did and you know what….it works!
I spent the day on a project that I had a deep passion for and I didn’t worry about anything else the entire day. Like my friend I discovered that this “dead time” writing was a God-send. I did some of the best work on that project and when the day was over I felt…well…not to sound corny but…fulfilled.
I now have that “dead time” on my calendar at least one day each week. I think that it is really going to help me regroup and get reoriented to my work. Let’s be honest, the ideal writer’s life would be one project at a time with enough money in the bank to keep buying food while you work…sadly…it doesn’t work that way and our Great American Novel is sustained on a million freelance jobs that require…well…scheduling.
I challenge you my writing friends to give “dead time” writing a chance. Let me know by posting here how it works for you. Maybe, just maybe, we have a small movement on our hands!
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