Time is a precious commodity for me these days. I teach seven classes a week (26 hours in the classroom), and I spend easily another 10-15 hours a week more on preparation, grading, and management issues. I spend another 15-20 hours a week on my ICL work. For those of you keep score at home, that’s 61 hours a week of work, and that doesn’t include my writing time.
So why is it, then, that the times I have the least availability for writing are the times when I generate the most ideas? I already have three books in various stages of disrepair, and suddenly my creativity is in overdrive. I woke up from a nap this afternoon (a brief, 45 minute power nap because I only got three hours of sleep last night), and characters were writing dialog in my head. On Saturday, in the middle of trying to relax and go golfing with my hubby, a whole different story emerged and tried to wrestle control of my concentration away from my swing tempo. In all, I’ve managed to generate about six new story ideas at a time when I can’t sufficiently spend time on the ones I already have started.
Does this happen to anyone else? What do you do about it? In the past, I”ve simply written down the ideas in a journal of potential story ideas to come back to later, but that doesn’t seem to be quelling the flow. For each idea I write down, two more immediately take its place in my consciousness. If I just stopped generating ideas today, I’d have enough material to keep me busy for the next ten years at least.
I know, I know: it’s a good problem to have, so why am I complaining? Because it is a constant reminder that I don’t have enough time to do what I love most. It feels somehow like a failing on my part. I am already stretched to my limits, and there is no option for me to add one more item to my agenda.
But some of these ideas are really, really cool. And that makes me really, really want to work on them. And I can’t.