Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Deadly-Effective Ways to Free Up Bits, Drips & Gimungously Vast Swaths of Time for Writing

This is part one of "30 Deadly-Effective Ways to Free Up Bits, Drips & Gimungously Vast Swaths of Time for Writing" which first appeared on C.M. Mayo's blog.

by C.M. Mayo

Where do you find the time? It’s not so much finding time as it is prying your physical presence and attention away, either permanently or for a spell, from someone, something, someplace less valuable to you—if you really do want to write, not just pretend and fantasize and gripe. Herewith, a menu of sources-- some of which just might work for you. They do for me. A few of them took me a while to recognize, alas.

1. Give up TV, just give it up, deep-freeze turkey & freekin' forever. You may have to find new friends who can have conversations on subjects other than TV shows. Oh well, too bad for the old ones. (Feel lonely just at the thought? Then you probably shouldn't try to be a writer.)

2. Cut the digital leash, the crackberry, whatever you want to call that soul-sucking hypnotic thumb-twiddler. The price of this is that you must therefore continually combat tidal waves of exasperation from loved ones and others that you are not instantly and always available to them. Find the humor in this. Because really, how blazingly ridiculous.

3. No drugs. Duh. And I include prescription drugs here, too. Exercise, eat lots of vegetables, drink raw juice, meditate… do whatever you possibly can to avoid adult onset diabetes and joint issues and so having to take drugs, for aside from suffering from lousy side effects, you'll waste countless hours waiting for doctors to write prescriptions, then getting them filled at the pharmacy, dealing with insurance, and complications, and so on & so forth.

4. Quit your commute. If you can possibly live closer to where you need to be during the day, even if you have to sell half your furniture to fit into a smaller place, do that. Otherwise, try to get into the habit of writing while commuting. I hear some people have been able to do that. I admire them genuinely.

5. No drama. Mantra: not my circus, not my monkeys. If you relish fighting / debating / gossip because you find it entertaining, that's your writing mojo leaking like water onto the asphalt. Incessant worrying about other people's problems that are not yours to solve is also silly. You can be aware, you can be concerned, you can be compassionate, and when they are your problems, then they are your problems.

6. No more ruminating over the past.  Regrets, nostalgia, whatever, writing gets done in the now.

7. Less fantasizing about the future. Again, writing gets done in the now.

8. No nursing grudges against editors / agents / other writers / 

reviewers / readers. This one can vacuum up untold hours of yammering in workshops, at conferences, and over sad and grumbly cups of coffee. But listen here: the so-called gatekeepers and the clueless readers and half-literate kids glued to their handheld devices, they’re just doing the best they can, too. So are the peasants wading through their rice paddies in Burma. You are luckier than a lottery-winner to even be able to write at all. So strive to always improve and write for those who appreciate what you do, knowing that, of course, even if you one day win the Nobel Prize, only the teensiest portion of the population of Planet Earth will have heard of you, never mind actually read anything you wrote. Bottom line: If you can’t stay focused on doing your own best work, you’re not writing, you’re back to ruminating.

C.M. Mayo is the author of several books, most recently, Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution: Francisco I. Madero and His Secret Book, Spiritist Manual. She is currently at work on a book about Far West Texas, and apropos of that, hosts the Marfa Mondays Podcasting Project at

Check in tomorrow for part two of this excellent list!


Renaissance Women said...

Interesting. Look forward to what tomorrow may bring. Can't say that I agree with everything offered, but real food for thought. Doris

judy said...

I like your jazzy writing style and salty sense of humor. I will be most interested to read the next ten recommendations on your list.

C.M. Mayo said...

Thanks ladies. I wouldn't expect everyone to agree… they are a menu of options. And what has worked for me. You'll see "give up spectator sports"… haha. Some people would rather die, I know!