A Blast From the Past
I am a new writer and am finding my way to more productive writing. I am in a class that Shaunta Grimes hosts and she started a class suggesting we figure out how to maximize our writing time.
One of her regular suggestions is to say that you only have to write for 10 minutes every day. You can always do more but as long as you do 10 minutes you are productive. Of course, what usually happens is that once you start, you write for more than 10 minutes.
I am retired now and my time is my own. But when you are not sure what to write or how to fix what you wrote then the laundry calls me, that sink with a few dishes need to be emptied and OMG my email is so long I have to read them so I can clear the box!
My biggest issue is that I am a morning person and get up early and tend to do my exercises each morning. I walk 3 times a week for one and a half hours, I run 3 times a week for an hour, and I also take a TRX/circuit training class twice a week. By the time lunch is over, so am I. I have no energy left. When I start to perk up just before dinner I do a thirty-minute yoga class on YouTube. Dinner, then I’m done again.
In this class, she asked if there were any suggestions. One young woman said it used to be her job to recommend ideas on getting things done. She recommended that I go someplace that is only for my writing so that when I go there I just write.
I decided to do some writing in Starbucks at the mall close to my house. I usually don’t go there especially by myself. So the first day after that class I finished up lunch and then walked over to Starbucks. It wasn’t that crowded so I found a seat and organized my table.
I felt this was going to work as I didn’t bring a book and I had nothing to do but write. It was a beautiful day and I thought great, this will work.
I began to edit my novel and implement suggestions from my Friday class when the first irritation started.
I changed seats because the sun was bothering me and ended up at a table with my back to two men. One was a man a little younger than me and the other was his father. It seems that the older one had trouble with his memory. I heard the son talk about the Chevron station in Newton that his dad used to go to.
Now, I grew up in Newton when it was a very small rural area inside the larger municipality of Surrey. When my husband and I retired and decided to downsize, we moved from the big city of Vancouver to one of the smaller communities within Surrey. I smiled to myself but I really wasn’t paying much attention to their conversation after that. Then I heard him say “you remember him, dad, he was a boxer when he was younger and you used to talk about that. Remember dad, he was ‘Frank the Barber’ from the Central Plaza.”
I turned around and told them, “I didn’t mean to eavesdrop but that man you are talking about was my dad.”
The younger guy, a well-known realtor in town, showed me the picture of my dad. He said the people that graduated from the local high school started a Facebook page and they sent in pictures of events from their time. This picture was from the Peace Arch News, a little local paper. He said the six barbershops in the town got together, led by dad and raised the prices of haircuts from $1.50 to $1.75! This was May 12, 1966.
My dad was the only barber in town that did children’s haircuts. The newspaper said that if you brought your child in during the week and not on a Saturday the price wouldn’t increase from $1.25.
This fellow was using the photo to remind his dad of events that took place in the past and was raising his voice slightly to help his dad hear.
I decided to follow my classmate’s advice and lo and behold I started to work in Starbucks for 2 hours each day. I need to work on a blog post, edit my first novel, and start to write on my second novel. I use the Pomodoro Method where I work for 25 minutes on one task then take a 5 minutes break, where I read my emails before I start again. I do this 3 times and I’m done.
Will I always find interesting people and events like my first day? Of course not but what a way to start! Now I try to get at least 2 hours of work done daily. I need the time to practice to get better, and better I will be.
Of course, I couldn’t predict that a month later I would be in self-isolation for this COVID-19 virus. The local Starbucks or any other coffee shop is closed for the foreseeable future. The practice is still haphazardly working as I work from home.
I don’t intend to be a full-time writer as I have too many other things to do, but I want my writing time to be worthwhile and not wasted.
I also don’t expect to have a blast from the past anytime soon but you never know.