Free Time does not equal Work Getting Done

I have known this for a long time, but am always surprised to discover it anew: when I have the free time that I constantly long for, it does not result in me getting a crapload of work done as I always imagine it will. The one exception to this was Christmas break this year, when I took a week off while my kids were still in school, and got most of my first draft finished. In a week. Working pretty much constantly.

However, I have a weekend… or at least a whole day… and I don’t find myself wanting to sit and work. I have multiple projects going on. A draft to revise (ugh…deep sigh), another novel just barely taking shape, and an entirely new project that I’m eager to begin. I also have some freelance work that I’ve accepted for an old client (which will probably end up getting done since it isn’t only me who will be disappointed if it doesn’t).

But I will probably spend my long free day on frivolous pursuits, just as I whiled away last evening. I watched three episodes of Top Chef: Season 9, and We Bought a Zoo (which totally made me cry, and want to visit the real zoo…) Today I have big plans to go see The Hunger Games — like in an actual movie theater. I never get to do that! (Although to be honest, I want to see it a lot less since learning that Woody Harrelson is in it. I have met him, and am not a fan). At least I can sort of construe that vaguely as research. But really, it’s pure pleasure. Maybe I’ll drag my laptop out and do some work at Panera first… I love that place… But I usually go there because my own home is noisy/filthy/oppressive, and none of that is the case today. Hmmm. And then, it turns out to be a beautiful day, so some part of me just wants to create some kind of excuse to be outside.

I doubt I’m alone in this — do you find that when you have the most time, you get the least done? I wrote a first draft of my last novel in about 3 months, while working 60% for a defense contractor, maintaining a marriage and a house (this is arguable, but we’re not going to consult the man about it), and raising two tiny boys (also arguable, but unless you want to discuss uses of the word “poopbutt” there’s no point asking them what they think about my success). But having a whole day free? Nothing will get done. I’m 85% certain.

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5 thoughts on “Free Time does not equal Work Getting Done

  1. I find that it depends on my mood. If it’s been a couple of days since I could sit down and actually write, I’m biting at the bit to do so. If I’ve been neck deep in writing, I use the excuses as a creative outlet for frustration. 😀 Great post!

      • True! It’s like the first 40 minutes is just warm up and when you go back to read it you ask yourself, where did that come from? It’s horrible!

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