We have all heard the expression, “killing time” or just to “kill time.” It’s been around for a long time. In fact, in 1841, the playwright, Dion Boucicault wrote: “Men talk of killing time, while time quietly kills them.” Other writers have referred to it as well, among them: Henry David Thoreau, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, George Bernard Shaw, and Octavio Paz.
Another expression popular with many people, writers and non-writers alike, is the complaint: There isn’t enough time in the day! Have you said this? I know I have, probably every single day that I am non-productive. The thing that we each have in common with all the writers above is that elusive concept of time. Look at all they accomplished! What about more contemporary authors, such as Stephen King, Dean Koontz, or J.K.Rowling? Is there a secret they all know that we aren’t privy to in conserving time? After all, there is and always has been, 24 hours in a day. So, it stands to reason that the hours in the day are not the problem, but how we use them.
Do you watch a lot of television? Do you read? Are you on the internet a lot? How about social media? Wow, Bingo! There is my entrapment. Is there anything out there that is a bigger time-suck than Facebook? I have been better about that, but I can spend hours reading blogs, and being in discussions online, sharing pictures of cute little kittens and puppies and cursing the government. There is not one of them that is helping me write my book. Granted, I do learn from the blogs and discussions, yet, they are taking
me away from the most valuable teacher of all–which is experience. You can’t serve up a gourmet meal without first spending hours in the kitchen, cooking and perfecting your dishes.
I have had to learn this the hard way. I have always been a free spirit, and that has been both my saving grace and my problem. Too much time on my hands, but not using it productively. So, as much as I absolutely detest schedules and outlines, I may have to make myself do it. We are never a total free spirit. We always have someone to answer to, even if it is to ourselves. Most importantly however, if you want to be a novelist, you owe you attention to your craft for the sake of your readers.
Do you have a schedule that works for you? How do you increase your productivity and avoid killing time? Please comment and let us know how we can do it too. 🙂