Thursday, October 11, 2007

Telling Write From Wrong (Part 13)

Use Every (Narrow) Window Of Opportunity

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON


A childhood friend of mine is the inspiration for this post. He's been in Melbourne for a week, staying with us - and I asked him what he planned to do with the start he had made on what sounds like a terrific novel.

But time is his problem. He is an overseas correspondent for a newspaper and so he's on call 24/7 and travels constantly. Yep, I can understand the pressure. But he's a gifted writer, a committed wildlife expert, a wonderful photographer and an award-winning documentary maker.

It would have been remiss of me to let him leave his novel to gather dust. So I told him about my ``narrow window'' theory. You see, we all have demands on our time. But is it possible to set aside even ten or fifteen minutes each day to write? It's a very narrow window of opportunity, but one that could potentially yield great creativity.

There is an added advantage to that sort of approach. Regular work on a manuscript sends your brain into ``plot gear''. Simply put, it means ideas will regularly pop up with an efficiency that would be absent if we didn't work regularly on a manuscript.

A fellow blogger, Kai, recently posted 60 Minutes and said, "Most of us have hectic lives, rushing about, doing, being, becoming ... Then there's a magic few minutes when we have time to create. I am learning how to use 60 minutes of my time to create more efficiently and with better results."

Good on you, Kai. I call it creative efficiency. We just need to recognise it and create a regular niche for it.

Do I practise what I preach? Abso-bloody-lutely, mate. I have a full-time job. I am a 100 per cent hands-on father. I follow my passion for photography. I am a daily blogger. But I still set aside some time in a joyfully cluttered day for my writing.

14 comments:

~Fathairybastard~ said...

Jesus man, you post about 20 times a day! How do you have time for anything? Man, if I find an extra 60, it's gonna be committed to couch time. Amazed, slumping back to plop down and see if I can churn up the energy.

Princess Pointful said...

I've only been blogging for less than a year now, but having an excuse to write for me has been brilliant for my creativity and better organizing my thoughts.

david mcmahon said...

G'day FHB,

I guess I get 30 hours' worth out of every 24 each day.

Couch time is cool - and also relaxing time with the kids, just doing things they want to do, or simply talking (and listening) with them.

You take it easy now, big fella. But not so easy that you don't post every day!!

Keep smiling

David

david mcmahon said...

Hi Princess Pointful,

You are 100 per cent spot-on. It's all about making the most of your time.

Great to hear from you. Do keep in touch.

And if there's anything I can help you with, I;m only a click away!

Keep smiling

David

RUTH said...

That's a fabulous photo to go with your informative post:o)

captain corky said...

I try to make a practice of keeping note pad in my back pocket so that when I get a good idea I don't lose it because I'm too busy. Writing has been very therapeutic for me and I make sure to write something at least once a week, even if it's complete and utter crap. ;)

Melissa said...

First of all, I love the photo. Those windows are beautiful. What is that building you photographed?

Second of all, I agree with you about time. So many of us waste time, for me I have tried to get up earlier in the morning to have some more of it, and that's when I usually do blogging, before work, and when my daughter is in bed or getting ready for bed.

If someone was writing a novel, I would think even a small amount of daily time would be beneficial for their outcome.

Great advice as always David!

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Alright, already! Sheesh, you are such a nag.. I'm going, okay? Right now, back to the novel (sigh).

Yes, yes, I know it's only for my own good. Hmph.

phaseoutgirl said...

Hey David,

You are absolutely right. I hope N takes your advice to heart, he truly is a special person, and if he sets his mind to something, he can do it. He just needs to figure out how to divide his time... (i am guilty of the same...)

Thanks for this post, hopefully you had a great time, and he had the chance to rest and relax a bit...

cheers,
Cecilia

Pijush said...

Nice shot as usual David, I like the 60min tips.

Kimberly said...

Fab advice as always, David. And much needed.

Lin said...

Well, you have certainly proved that point by your own ability to produce a novel despite several tens of other irons in the fire. You are nearly shaming me into action here. What I finds most frustrating is that my best writing goes on in my head while out on far walks. By the time the generator comes on at night, nearly all of it is lost for good. I so wish I could direct-download from my brain as I walk.

sex said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kirti said...

yes, I need to stop making excuses!