“How much have you been writing everyday?” no one asked me.
Still, I feel I am answering to someone. Maybe it’s that I have recently begun to feel like I am a part of a writing community, where one of my new writer friends might call me up to ask me how much I’ve been writing and compare or something. Most likely it’s not that, it’s that there is a time monster that lives inside of me and is so mean to me.
My family is never late for anything. I don’t know if they meant to raise me this way, but I grew up absolutely dreading tardiness. I had nightmares about packing up my books for too long after school and leaving my lonely dad waiting for me outside until it went dark. I am dressed and ready to go one hour prior to any pick-up time. I leave an extra fifteen minutes for traffic wherever I’m going. I don’t mean to do it. I have a time monster inside of me.
The time monster channels himself through things like iCal and new Moleskine daily planners.
He feeds off of these. The time monster does not do well with to-do lists on my hand or trying to memorize acronyms to remember errands. He gets nervous – he taps at the insides of my stomach with one of those old hanging time pieces.
I have learned to use the time monster for good purposes. Some people ask, well, how do you have so much discipline to sit down and write everyday? I pretend I’m just a really good person with good values, but the truth is I have this sacred, horrible time monster inside of me who eats away at me if I’m not doing something productive and I’m not doing it now.
So, in answer to nobody’s question, I’ve been writing four hours a day for the past five days (Monday-Friday, Time Monster likes weekdays) in response to the incredible energy my writing retreat on Denman Island gave me. Every night I plan my shifts for the next day (mostly 9:30-11:30 and 1:30-3:30, like a particularly lazy part-time employee) and then put little check marks or rearrangements next to the previous day’s work.
It’s as if I’m reporting to someone, it’s as though I’m going to post minutes on a website for other board members to poke holes in. No, I’m obviously not someone with good morals. I’m someone who is deadly afraid of this gnawing anxiety that eats at me when I’m not on time for something or I’m not filling my time with things of value.
I’m glad that me and my monster have agreed that playing around with characters and words and having no more clear an end goal then “book” is a good use of my time.