Sunday, March 7, 2010

Time Commitment

Have you ever taken a guess how long it would take you to finish a project, and then found that actually doing the project took a vastly different amount of time? I’m very good at that: If I guess a project will take an hour, it might actually take anywhere from 10 minutes to 4 ½ hours. I guess that why I call them a guess.

Practice helps. After years of commuting to the same job location from the same home, I knew it took me about 20 minutes to get there most mornings, a couple minutes more to take the same route home in the afternoon. But I still had this tendency to forget about the time needed to gather my stuff together, get it to the car, and then get it into the other building at the end of the ride. Some things are so routine, we tend to forget they take time, too.

What’s this got to do with writing? As an as-yet unpublished writer, I don’t have any publisher, editor or even agent breathing down my neck about when I’m going to get my next piece of work done. I could re-write my novel 47 times, if I wanted. Of course, if I did, I wouldn’t get anything new written, and my chances of getting published would plummet.

Writers need deadlines, in my opinion. And new writers like me need to set our own deadlines. Gay Haldeman often says, “If you write one page a day, every day, at the end of a year, you’ll have written 365 pages, and that’s a book.” That seems like an achievable deadline, even if you are working a ‘day job’. One page a day. And the second year, you could edit one page a day. It’s not prolific writing, but it is writing, and you will make progress.

But don’t ask me how long it takes to write a page.
See ya next week. Trudy

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