Monday, 29 August 2011

Saved by a quarter hour

It’s been a long hot, humid summer and the crisp fall air can’t come soon enough.

As one of those individuals who suffers in torrid atmospheric conditions – my brain turns to mush – I admit my resolve to finish to my writing project by the autumn has suffered tremendously: from ennui, sluggish holiday recovery, family crises, procrastination and laziness. Should I give it up? It certainly feels like it.

They say familiarity breeds contempt. I’ve been carrying a host of characters around in my head, trying to finish this MS for what seems like eons. Life keeps breaking out around me, throwing up challenges and problems, hassles and calamities. I’m getting a bit tired of these make-believe creatures. They clamor to set about and do things, make pronouncements and go off on tangents. And as prepared as I am to bow to their wishes, I’m supposed to be somewhere else - in real time - in fifteen minutes, or half an hour. And so they wait, impatient, and displaying characteristics I have not yet assigned to them.

What to do? Karen Blake-Hall, our fearless writing group leader, is a firm believer in the fifteen-minutes-a-day regime, especially if you’re on the run. But I write in chunks, I say. What on earth could I achieve in fifteen minutes?

Well, Karen, I’m a convert. You can achieve a lot in fifteen minutes. And the best accomplishment is regaining your momentum. It doesn’t take much. Fifteen stretches to a half hour; a half hour is suddenly an hour. And if tomorrow is busy?

Fifteen minutes will do. You stay in touch with your work. You quiet those characters for a bit and seize control once more.

Mired. Stuck. Blocked. Whatever it is, it seems to just take a nudge – fifteen minutes at a time. At least for now.

Bring on the cool air. My head needs clearing.

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