Thursday, May 29, 2008

Stolen Moments

Let's find out if my boss reads this or not.

When do you write? I'm at home two days a week right now, so I spend most of those days working on the next novel (excerpts coming to the website soon!). But when the whole day stretches out before me, it's awfully easy to get sucked into another, and another, and another game of Freecell.

I find that I do some of my most productive writing in the stolen moments of the day. The half hour before I pick up the adorable toddler from daycare. While the hubby is giving him a bath. The 45 minutes after he goes to bed before I collapse in exhaustion.

And the five minutes here, ten minutes there I steal at work.

Now, I'm quite sure my lovely coworker Mary already knows I do this. For reasons that are beyond my technological grasp, we have to share the Word program on our computers, so it can only be open on one computer at a time. Needless to say, it's usually open on mine, and occasionally I have to shut it down so she can do real work.

The lovely Mary is one smart cookie, so I'm sure she has connected the dots.

But, while I (mostly) enjoy my job, it doesn't always require my full brain. The literary part tends to wander as I place art into text, or proof the same copy of the Constitution for the 5th time. (Yes, I did that yesterday. We publish educational material, remember? It's an election year. Lots of Constitutions running around the office.) So while I'm reading Article III (the Judicial Branch), my people are having conversations in my head. And sometimes, I need to write what they say down before it floats down my stream of consciousness and right out of my head. There's nothing I hate more than crafting a great line, only to sit down to type it in an hour later and having no clue what it was.

So I steal time. Five minutes here, two minutes there. I probably type on my books and my people a total of 45 minutes every day at work. And they are by far the most productive 45 minutes of my day. I get a lot of stuff - good stuff that needs very little editing - down in those condensed 45 minutes.

Don't get me wrong. I work hard at my job, and get my tasks done quite promptly. My boss has no complaints, and trust me, I'd know it if he did. But those 45 minutes are important to me. One of the reasons I didn't want that last job I interviewed for (and didn't get, by the way) was that I wouldn't be able to type in those floating lines. What I might make up in more money or benefits, I would lose in productive writing time.

Those stolen moments make up for the things I don't enjoy at work. (Pre-Algebra? Again? AIEEE!).

I don't think this is an uncommon thing. We all tend to zone out, take little mental breaks throughout the day. I just write novels in mine. What do you do in your stolen moments?

1 comment:

Caley Greene said...

Stolen moments are a great thing! I keep pen and paper with me because I don't work with computers, and then later that night I'll transcribe it and even more comes out with it. I think I get more done that way that planting myself in front of my keyboard for 8 hours.