If you read the comments on my post from Monday, you may have noticed that my dad commented. He sweetly disclosed that I myself was an intense and strong-willed child, which is nothing but truth. And I'm still intense. Whatever has my attention ... gets a lot of attention.
So. Time. I started wondering how I spend it. Particularly since I got an agent and plunged into the world of social media, I've been feeling the pull of all these different activities--blogging, tweeting, beta-reading. Oh, and writing. Yeah. Where does the time go? Specifically, how do I spend my "writing" time? I put that in quotes because, as a writer, I do a lot more than add words to my WIP.
Well. I'm trained as a scientist, so I collected some data.
Before I go on, I should warn you. These are some seriously complicated statistics. Watch out.
I tracked my time for a week. Every day, I took note of when I started and stopped various activities. Here's what I came up with:
Do you know how many hours this adds up to? In technical terms: A. Lot.
Keep in mind I have a job. I work three to four days per week. And I have small children. But they go to bed quite early and sleep through the night, which is what they get for having a mommy who spent a year working in a sleep clinic.
I was comforted that writing actually occupied the largest chunk of my time. This is my "writing" time, after all. I spent about as much time reading as I did writing. I think that's as it should be. Plus, the two novels I read last week were quite good. And I spent almost as much time reading others' blogs as I spent writing posts for my own. I was surprised by that, but it does make sense. I follow some great blogs, and if I haven't made it to yours yet, I apologize. Leave me a chastising comment and I'll stop by. Sometimes I need a little kick in the pants.
Here's what I was stunned by: I spent almost five hours on Twitter? Seriously? That place is dangerous. Too many interesting people. I should follow some boring, vapid tweeters. Then maybe I'd stay away.
The thought did occur to me: what if I spent all my "writing" time actually writing? Could I finish a novel in a month? Well, I've done that before. But I couldn't do it every month. Not even close. I need the time to connect with others, to get inspired, to let ideas germinate and churn, to hone my critical eye, to learn new things. If I were locked in my own head for that much time every week, it would be to the detriment of my creativity and my skill. Which isn't to say that I don't need to disconnect sometimes.
Anyway, this is just one week. Last week, actually. And last week, I didn't do much beta-reading. This week, I've already done about twelve-hours worth. So things change from week to week, obviously.
How do you spend your "writing" time? I know it's not all writing, or you wouldn't be here. What are you doing out there? Did I miss anything (I used to spend a lot more time on forums, for example, but that's just dropped out in the face of everything else)? Are you satisfied with how you spend your time, or do you feel unbalanced somehow? Do you know why, or is it just a nagging feeling? Have you ever considered collecting some data?
On the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog front, check out Deb's thoughts on critique.