Time! There is no time!

What a hoot! I opened up the various guest blogs I wrote during the virtual tour for the My Dearest Mr. Darcy release and this one was next in line, perfectly falling on the schedule when I will be crazy busy at the RWA conference. Time, and how to manage to DO IT ALL will be heavy on my mind amid the fun!! And here is a blog written ages ago that touches on just how difficult time management is for a writer. Perhaps I have learned to handle it all better…… but then again, maybe not! LOL! Either way, enjoy. I will be back soon with conference and vacation news.

“Time! There is no time!” by Sharon Lathan

Jack Bauer has nothing on me. OK, I am not saving the world and the president has never called me up for a one on one convo. But when it comes to feeling as if the clock is loudly ticking with the thum-thum-thum of doom, I totally get Jack’s grim panic. Too bad I can’t do the scratchy, sexy voice…. But that is for another discussion!

My life as a hopeful writer was a fairly leisurely one. Sure, I had the real life job, family, housekeeping duties, etc. to keep me from writing in ten-hour blocks. Yet, when I was writing for fun and personal pleasure the demands were not as great and it was easy to drown out the few distractions.

There is no denying that nearly from the moment I signed that first contract my time shrunk. It almost was visible! I swear the hands on the clock began to spin faster! The added responsibilities of marketing myself, running the blog, and the process of editing – while still working at the hospital and trying to keep the house functioning – crunched into that leisurely writing time.

Am I complaining? Oh no! Heaven forbid! I love being published and am having a blast with my blog, the launch activities and touring, the guest speeches, and working with my editor. However, the truth is the truth and I don’t believe in burying my head in the sand in denial.

So, how do I juggle it all? Have I discovered the magic secret? Ha! I wish! Every day is a balancing act. Some weeks I feel really good about what I have accomplished and pat myself on the back for being so organized and focused. Then another curve ball is thrown my direction and I have to reevaluate. The hardest part for me has been to accept that large portions are beyond my control. This Type-A gal does not like to be out of control! I haven’t completely mastered shrugging nonchalantly, but I am daily improving in the art of deep breathing – and prayer!

Discipline truly is the key to balancing a writer’s life. Fortunately I am fairly disciplined. Unfortunately my work schedule does not allow me to be on a set writing schedule. So I have to reapply the careful planning on a daily and weekly basis. Simple aids like a large calendar in my office help me to see what is ahead so I can prepare. Retreating to my office where I can concentrate is essential.

I keep my goals achievable. I am not one who can force myself to write X number of words a day. Rather I look at each task and set a time limit on when it needs to be done. I also refuse to panic or beat myself up if I am unable to accomplish a goal. Instead I look at why it was not done, decide if it was due to a fault of my own that I can correct or avoid in the future, or just the result of circumstances. So far I have managed to be ahead of every deadline and never have missed an appointment. That is pretty good! And it restores hope when I do sense the tendrils of panic setting in!

Clinging to the “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” adage is a lifesaver. It is very easy to succumb to the incessant demands and need to write. Thus, getting away from the computer and letting go is vital to keeping my sanity intact. Watching TV or a movie, reading books, playing silly games, lunch dates with friends – all of these entertainments are abundantly worth the time cost.

My job offers an outlet for me too. I work in a very intense environment: a neonatal ICU. My profession is a passionate love, my workplace an opportunity to socialize with friends, and my tasks mind consuming. In general I can’t be dwelling too intently on Darcy and Lizzy when I have very sick babies who need my constant attention! Alaine asked if my job was an inspiration. Certainly it is in writing of Lizzy’s pregnancy and birth, as well as the antics of their baby, since this is my area of expertise. But I think the greatest inspiration comes from the diversion; from being forced to turn off “author Sharon” and turn on “nurse Sharon.”

There is no solution to the limits of 24 hours in a day. I keep hoping but time travel hasn’t been invented yet, so that option is out! Discipline, organization, upbeat attitude, persistence…. yada, yada yada. If all that fails, I just think of Jack Bauer. After all, if he can save the world in 24 hours, anything is possible.

3 Comments for Time! There is no time!

  1. Dear Sharon!

    It is really amazing how many things you do in your life. I do just half of it or even less and that is enough for me.
    So you really have found a way to make the most out of your day.
    And it is really visible that your family is the kind of family that most people want; to stay together, help each other, work together and travel together.
    I love it to be a part of your exciting life!

    Lots of love to you,
    Susanne

  2. Thats a beautiful poem May ! I love these simple things in amongst lifes chaos and this poem really sums up simple pleasures we tend to forget.
    Sharon your life is inspirational! You my dear are a master of organisation! I cannot fathom how you manage to stay sane with all that happens in your life! I know your dear family play a HUGE part in helping keep you sane. As a family unit you guys are awesome and once again inspirational!
    Your neonatal ICU career in itself is aweinspiring. You care for these precious gifts to the earth. That would be enough to handle for "normal" people. But not you Sharon 🙂 You have also managed to become my favourite author too!!! A wonderfully gifted writer. I look forward to all you write. Darcy saga goes without saying, I simply adore your exquisite story of my all time fav characters Darcy & Lizzy. If you write a thousand books they will all be on my shelf!!
    Thank you for another great passage! I look forward to hearing all about your latest adventures. Have a safe trip home.
    TSBO devotee
    Vee

  3. Sharon you are a marvel! When I read your article I was reminded of the poem "Leisure" by W H Davies

    What is this life if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare.
    No time to stand beneath the boughs
    And stare as long as sheep or cows.
    No time to see, when woods we pass,
    Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
    No time to see, in broad daylight,
    Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
    No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
    And watch her feet, how they can dance.
    No time to wait till her mouth can
    Enrich that smile her eyes began.
    A poor life this if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare

    I am afraid it was written in a bygone age! but lovely all the same even if we say to ourselves when we read it "if only"!

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