The last year of my dad's life, my sisters, Joan and Margaret, alternated weeks caring for him, so that he could stay at home. I would drive to VA once a month to give them a break for a week. We kept a daily journal which started out as a record of his medications and changes in routine. We did this so that we would remember to tell the next sister of changes. However, the journal evolved into a record of who came to visit, events that happened during each day, and our own feelings. The only time we had to write in this journal was the early morning. We each rose early each day, around 6:00 a.m. Daddy would get up around 8:30 a.m. We would write until Daddy got up, because, after that, our time was not our own. We called the period between 6:00 and 8:30 a.m. our Blessed Time.
I used this same segmentation of time when I wrote my dissertation. I wrote early in the morning--religiously. Nothing got in the way of the writing. I was motivated and committed. My daily schedule reflected that commitment. My schedule was tight and I accomplished each task efficiently, thereby maximizing my writing time.
But lately, my writing isn't getting done. There is no one to blame but me. When each day ends, I realize that I have lost time somehow and feel just lousy about it. It has put me in a foul mood.
However, yesterday, I discovered a wonderful blog about "The Daily Routines of Famous Writers" on Brain Pickings. Here, I saw this quote by Don DeLillo: "A writer takes earnest measures to secure his solitude and then finds endless ways to squander it." Eureka! That's what has happened. I search for ways to keep from writing. I work on multiple billable projects (in terror of not having any money). I volunteer. I get on Facebook. I watch every series on Netflix that is available. I watch movies. And, then, the day is over and I haven't written a word toward my book or the articles I want to publish.
Last night I went to see the wonderful new movie by Ben Stiller, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty". What an inspiring movie! I've recommitted to reclaiming my "Blessed Time," not just because we are on the cusp of a new year, but because that is where my joy is.
Happy New Year, everyone!