Listen. Think. Speak. Write.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Time of Your Life

Time is what we want most, but... what we use worst.  ~William Penn

I am completely stealing this week’s blog from my fellow writer and motivational partner, Tia. She wrote a great piece about the value of time. I admit that I am a little obsessed with time—just ask my kids how often they hear, “Hurry up, we’re going to be late,” even though we pretty much never are.  

On the first day of public speaking every semester, I ask students who the best and worst speakers they ever saw were, and I put a list of characteristics up on the board.  I never name names on my worst, but I tell them the worst thing you can do when speaking to me is waste my time. I cannot stand when people read me a handout, for example, when I could just as easily read it myself.

That isn’t to say I don’t throw away plenty of hours even in a single day, but such a priceless commodity commands more respect. Sometimes, I even wonder about the value of my writing time. If I didn’t write, I’d have more time, for sure, but how would I spend the “extra” time if not writing? Of course, perception matters.  Another person could perceive everything I do to be a waste of time and vice versa.

At the Ink Pond, Tia talked specially about writing conferences/workshops.  The topic drew me in because I’ve been pondering the question of what conferences I can afford both financially and in terms of that other scarce resource—time. 

Last year, I attended my first writing conference, and I admit that initially, I walked away disappointed.  I don’t know what I expected—maybe a sudden epiphany about my novel or some hope of success.  The investment in that particular conference paid off more in the long than the short term. I met a wonderful group of other first time conference goers, and we’ve spent the year cheering each other on. Plus, feedback received there provided a powerful push toward an important manuscript revision.  Delayed gratification complicates decision-making.

Since I can’t buy more time, I want to be cautious about how I use it. If writers out there have tips on the best conferences/workshops, I’d love to hear them. You can listen to my favorite "time" song while you think.

In the meantime, I think I’m going to spend some time figuring out the biggest time sucks in my day in order to assess what might be cut or reduced because I’m not getting enough return on my investment (I’m looking at you Facebook). In return, I will examine one area where more time might yield better results (I may see some games with children in my future).  Anyone care to join me?


  1. I was sitting outside an hour ago enjoying the sun and the quiet and realized I need to disconnect from technology for a bit too. It's a giant vortex of time suckage.

    Did you see this?

  2. Anonymous said...Oh gosh, yes, Jill. I think you posted that on FB, right? I hated and loved it at the same time. Damn mid-life crisis. I hope to see you soon!