Crevices of Life
Is time really on our side? I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, even in my fiction writing. In my current work in progress, the main character is a teenage girl who finds herself pregnant. While hiding her secret, one of her closest friends introduces her to a song by the Rolling Stones, “Time is on My Side.” As she hears Mick Jagger repeat that refrain, she realizes that as much as she wants that to be true, she knows that everything she holds dear is threatened because time will soon reveal the secret she won’t be able to keep forever. Given her circumstances, she cannot bring herself to believe that time is on her side.
But isn’t that true for most of us? Sure, I’d like to agree with the sentiments of the song, but how often do we find ourselves short on time, lamenting the passage of time, realizing that time flies? And how often do I realize my daily accomplishments don’t match my hoped-for productivity?
Part of the reason why I have been thinking about time lately is because of conversations with others. A somewhat common reaction when people hear about my debut novel is for them to say, “I have always wanted to write a book.” What’s the most frequently stated reason as to why they haven’t? Time.
I recently came across a Ted Talk by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, one of my favorite authors. She discusses the crevices of life, saying, “It seems that tight parameters and small windows of time can yield the biggest results.”
Amy accomplished much in the crevices of her life. She wrote books while mothering young kids because she didn’t wait for a big block of uninterrupted time. She created what she could in the pockets of time she had available.
Recently, I decided to do a time audit. I roughly calculated a weekly breakdown of my writerly tasks during the time when I was writing the two novels that are part of my book deal. Of course time varies and gets redistributed given where I am in the writing process, but this is a rough idea of breaking down a year’s worth of work into weekly time allotments:
- 10 hours – brainstorming/researching/writing
- 5 hours – editing work in progress
- 5 hours – educating myself on my craft (books, podcasts, videos, news, etc.)
This works out to be twenty hours per week—a part-time job (with a SLOW paycheck…)! And I did a lot of those tasks in the crevices of my day, while working as a freelance writer, parenting three kids…and all the tasks that surround that.
Closing out her talk, Amy says, “Minute by minute, ounce by ounce, it all adds up. So the big secret is there are no secrets, just simple mathmatics. Whatever it is you’re hoping to do, hoping to make, hoping to make happen, it is more likely to manifest itself when you stop waiting for the right moment in this great expanse of time and start dipping into the fractured, but endlessly available crevices of life. For they are tiny but mighty golden fireballs just waiting for our attention and touch.”
Trust me, I have wasted plenty of crevices of life (I’m looking at you, Twitter). I can’t help but wonder what more we could do if we gave attention to those “golden fireballs.” Not for the sake of more production and accomplishment and checking off a task list, but because we have decided to pay more attention. Make more happen. Give even small pockets of space to creating. Maybe then we wouldn’t lament time flying. Maybe we would see that time is on our side after all.
I have great news: my historical fiction novel will be available spring 2023! Don’t miss news about THE LAST CAROLINA GIRL. Subscribe to my enewsletter for updates, sneak peeks, giveaways & behind-the-scene stories of my journey to becoming a debut author.