If you know me at all you know I'm obsessed with time. Wasting it. Using it. Saving it. Savoring it. Time. Time. Time. It keeps clicking by.
Tell me you're waiting for the day to be over, or the week, the month or the year and I'll get irritated, because time is the most precious commodity in my life, and I don't believe it should be wished away.
We all have the same amount of time in our day. Think about it.
60 minutes in an hour.
24 hours in a day.
1440 minutes in a day.
In 1999, I had a life changing event occur. I lost my husband. This isn't the topic of discussion, but I'm hoping you'll digest this information and indulge me the bold and potentially offensive comments I'm about to make now that I've given you some insight into my background and understand that I'm speaking from my heart.
“O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few hand breadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!"
When you lose someone close to you, you are given a unique a pair of glasses that few others are privileged to wear. These glasses are like slow motion and 3-D sort of merged together. You look at the sky, the clouds, and the entire world around you differently. You realize how fleeting our time here on earth is and how very important it is to follow your dream today, because you might not have tomorrow. To everyone else this seems a trite acknowledgement, but to those wearing the glasses it becomes a burning heat inside of us.
Thus, one of the quotes that steers my day:
My outlook on life has changed dramatically. I went from a type A personality to an A minus. Hey, for me, that was huge.
Dust bunnies were no longer able to hold me hostage.
I spent hours and hours savoring sunsets and sunrises, and enjoying the splendor of what God has given me.
I spent time considering what I wanted my tombstone to say, and this wasn't it.
"Her house was clean and her toilet bowls sparkled. She liked to write, but unfortunately she never really had time."
But this was...........
This is also why I preach the inverted pyramid method of time management. I simply asked myself if I was doing what I really wanted to be doing?
The pyramid should be filled top to bottom with what's most important to the least important in life.
So if writing was near the top of my list why had I inverted my pyramid- spending most of my time on things I claimed were least important?
What was the worst that could possibly happen to me if I did this?
Agent of my dreams would reject me? So what?
Publisher of my dreams would reject me? They did. On several, wait, many occasions and then when my writing grew, I sold to them.
Reviewers might hate my books. Yes. They have bashed me with words. Torn me into little pieces and left me to bleed to death. In those moments I crawl to the computer and bring up all the sweet emails that tell me my books touched lives.
After years of juggling the balls, I have finally come to the conclusion that balance in a writer's life is a myth. I CAN'T HAVE IT ALL.
I've done the homework, analyzed the charts, and run the numbers. I'm off the hook.
Something's gotta give means I can leave the dishes in the sink while I edit that short story. I can turn off the television in the middle of Survivor and go revise. I can get off Twitter and read. And, I can say no when invited to a home shopping party across the street because, I'm a writer and writers spend their time writing.
And guess what fellow scribes? This applies to you too. It's true...
YOU CAN'T HAVE IT ALL EITHER!
Okay, Seekervillians, ready for five tough questions?
- Are you wasting time or savoring it, and exploiting it to the max?
- What have you done today to make your dream come true?
- Are dust bunnies holding you hostage? (What will your tombstone say?)
- Are you living in an inverted pyramid life wasting time on the least important things?
- What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?
This post first appeared in Seekerville in October 2012. Comments are closed to today to give us all more writing and reading time. Take advantage of that!!
Tina Radcliffe is a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist, a 2012 ACFW Carol Award finalist, a 2014 ACFW Mentor of the Year finalist, a 2014 Golden Quill finalist and a 2014 ACFW Carol Award winner. She has won first place in over twenty RWA chapter affiliated contests in her career.
She has completed seven books for Love Inspired and has released seven independent projects. A short story writer as well, Tina has sold *THIRTEEN short stories to Woman’s World Magazine and dozens of stories to the Trues. Stop by and see her at mycritiquepartner.blogspot.com or www.tinaradcliffe.com She currently resides in Arizona where she ignores the fact that her house is being over-run by dust bunnies.
The fourth Paradise book is now available! Pick up your copy here.