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Sunday, November 12, 2006

I don't have time

A few days ago, NPR was airing an hour's worth of Perspecitives. The topic was choices and how our choices affect our lives, for better or for worse.

At one point the host of the show was ad-libbing about choices. His example was about a writer. He said that the writer who never got around to writing that novel shouldn't complain that they never could find the time. It's not that the writer couldn't find the time--the writer didn't make the time. Everything we do, every choice we make is a trade-off for something else.

That really hit home. Many times I've commented on Bethany's blog that I don't know how she does it. How she manages to work and raise her family and blog and write and re-write and edit her novels and shop them around to book agents. In a recent email exchange about her writing projects I wrote:

I read about your rewrite after rewrite and the little-to-no sleep. I cannot live on four hours of sleep a night. I really don't know if I could live on seven hours a night ;-) I need lots of sleep. I used to joke when I was in college that I'd sleep when I was dead. But really, if I don't sleep enough, my family would be dead. There is no way I could keep everyone alive if I wasn't well enough rested, or at least sort of rested.

And that is my choice, for better or for worse. I have chosen sleep over my writing projects. I have chosen to sit with Father in Chief and watch a little mind-numbing television before bed. I have chosen to have my kids with me everyday--although I'm in the process of getting Toddler in Chief into some kind of preschool. My choices have kept me in denial. I say to myself that I haven't been able to find the time to really hunker down and get to work. When really, I haven't made the time. To be clear, it's not that I'm never writing. It's just that I'm not into a writing routine that would actually produce meaningful results. I do a little here and a little there, but I haven't carved out chunks of time just for working.

The same is true of so many things in my life. Not just my writing. There's all those emails to friends I've never replied to. There's all my photographs locked away on my hard drive. There's all those calls I've been meaning to make. My excuse is often the same--there was this and that, and, well, life got in the way. But did it really? I doubt that I couldn't find the time. Really I just chose to use my time in other ways, for better or for worse.

But when it comes down to it, I'm the only one to blame for my choices.


  1. Excellent post.

    I wish more people would take ownership for their choices. I try very hard to not "blame" my son for lack of time and totally cringe the time I find myself doing so anyway.

    On the other hand, my favorite hobbies such as knitting, reading, blogging and television have not taken too much of a backseat to motherhood. I never know quite how to respond when people comment "how do you still find time to do all that". I joke that my son is often tethered to the coffeetable, but in truth, I think to myself "I make the time."

  2. Anonymous2:17 PM


    Thanks for taking responsibility! We all make choices and using our children for an excuse for not getting certain things done is not one of them. As a working mother who is out of the home to help support my family, I find these comments refreshing. WE MAKE TIME FOR WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO US, WHATERVER THAT IS.

  3. Silvia Plath wrote from 4 to 8 in the morning...well, before she killed herself. ;)

    I share your woes though.