Choosing Time

Choosing Time

Most “rules” for writing are hyper-personal. What works for one writer will not work for another writer. We each discover our own path in the journey of creation and each path is as different as the person who walks it. But there is one bit of advice that remains true regardless of our course: to become a writer, you have to write.

That is a choice in itself. It doesn’t matter what we desire to do, if you’re driven to create then you have to participate in that act of creation. What you’re doing at that moment isn’t choosing to write but choosing the time to write. Time is the currency for creation. That applies to every creator working in any medium and is not restricted to writers.

Time is the currency for creation.

During the nineteenth-century labor movement, Robert Owen began the push for the eight-hour workday. It was he who coined the slogan “Eight hours labor, Eight hours recreation, Eight hours rest.” Since then, it’s been co-opted by labor movements and labor organizations across the world. Most artists I know have to work full-time jobs (sometimes many)—art is often secondary to that work. That leaves sixteen hours (if we’re lucky[1]) to divide between rest and creation. From the onset, many of us are already limited in the amount of time we can spend walking our path.

A group of Australian ‘red raggers’ (railway drivers and firemen) pose in front of an 888 banner symbolizing the divisions of the day, 1912. More info on Wikipedia

Time is finite. Once spent it cannot be reclaimed. If a creator is driven to create, then we need to learn to spend our time wisely. If we work full-time jobs, we’re already limited. We need to set priorities that permit us the time to create. That requires sacrifice. Choosing time means making sacrifices and cutting out other things that serve only as a distraction.

For me, that meant I quit playing video games. I stopped watching movies. Television went by the wayside. This year, I’ve significantly cut back on live sports as well—I no longer choose to sacrifice four hours to a football or baseball game, not when my time is limited.[2]

As with the individual’s path of creation, the path of sacrifice will be different for each creator. The choices you make will be personal. But you’re going to have to make them. In the end, it’s up to you. It’s your choice.[3]

1 This is a topic for another time, but I know many artists who have to work several jobs. For some it’s so they can afford health insurance, for others, it’s so they can afford food or rent. This only further limits their time, and further restricts their choices.

2 This isn’t to say you can’t enjoy these things. You can! I haven’t become a Luddite. But I treat each of these as rewards instead of as a lifestyle. That makes my time with each more special.

3 “Choose wisely.” —Grail Knight

Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. Alexander

Friday Link Pack 05/23/2014


It’s time to share a few interesting links I have found throughout the week. Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Let me know!


New Edition Of The Strangest Book In The World: Codex Seraphinianus
This October publishing house Rizzoli plans to re-release Luigi Serafini’s strange Codex Seraphinianus. Take a gander at its weirdness. I can’t wait.

What would you say if you could read 500 words per minute, how about 700? What if you could finish a whole novel in 90-minutes. Well, Spritz—with the power of some smart technology—wants to help you do just that.

5 Common Problems I See In Your Stories
In classic PenMonkey style (aka nsfw), author Chuck Wendig offers five candid pieces of writing advice. There’s some good thoughts here no matter how long you’ve been at it.


Device 6 Title Sequence
One of my favorite sites—Art of the Title—featured the title sequence for one of my favorite games from last year: Device 6. I high recommend you check out this interview. It’s fantastic.

Typography…animated. This is the best thing I have seen all week.


Watch A Spectacular Supercell Take Form In Wyoming
Nature is amazing.

Spurious Correlations
What does the per capita consumption of cheese have to do with the number of people who died by becoming tangled in their bedsheets? You wouldn’t think there’s a correlation, but there sure seems to be something fishy going on.

Granny & Shady Lady
The most terrifying home-craft project you’ve ever seen.

How far can you walk/drive in 10 minutes?
Isoscope is built to help you figure that out. (It’s super cool.)

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
Since it’s a long weekend, why not a longer read. Follow Charles Dexter Ward as he becomes engrossed in researching his dark family history.

Farewell Gif of the Week: