Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I Don't Have Time to Talk About Time


I’ve got this idea about how my perception of time changes. When I was a kid, around 5, and I had to wait 6 months until Christmas, it seemed like torture. 6 months is so far in the future that it might as well never come.

Considering that folks generally don’t start developing lasting memories until they are close to 4 years old*, that means that waiting 6 months is, more or less, the equivalent to waiting a quarter of my entire living memory for Santa to visit next.

So, in my scenario, a five year old waiting six months for next Christmas in equal to me, today, waiting 10 years for something.

That’s how I figure it anyway. Which is why if I don’t pay close attention, I’ll not notice entire seasons go by. That’s seasons like Spring or Summer, by the way, not seasons in a more generic sense of the term.

And that’s true, I’ve walked outside and wondered why it was so damned cold, only to realize after a few moment’s thought that it was December and I’d missed the Fall. Leaves still change color in the fall, right?

So, I find also, that projects that I’ll start have a tendency to drag out longer than I intended. I’ll often think that if I have a month to do something then that’s about as much time as I’ll ever need to do anything, I suppose that’s because my perception of how long a month is was set when I was 5 years old, and a month was a significant portion of my life up to that point.

I just finished a rewrite of a novella I started on more than a year ago… A YEAR AGO! For that to take longer than a month is ridiculous. The bad part is that I’ve not finished the project, just the draft. I don’t intend to radically change the story at this point, just add a thing here or there, take away something in a spot or two, that sort of thing.

My feeling after I finished this draft is that it’s an okay story. I like anyway, that’s all I can ask for, although, if the feedback I’ve been getting from the pro markets I've been submitting short stories to lately are an indicator, other folks aren’t quite as thrilled with my stories as I am.

I have taken a break from my Fantasy novel for a while so I can go back to my outline and rework it a bit. I’ll be working on that with some more focus in the coming months.

Just FYI.

*I made that up. But it could be true.

16 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Time really does speed up the older we get. I'm convinced of that now!

Brinda said...

A couple of very accomplished authors in my local writing group complete yearly calendars marking deadlines of what will be completed and worked on for a YEAR. I am in awe of them. These calendars are color coded (by book or novella) and strategically planned by estimated word count per day. I have not done this but wish I could. Keep at it, Rusty. We are way ahead of those who talk about writing a book and never work on it at all.

Gail said...

Like The Sands Through The Hour Glass...and I detest that show...but it's true. Time gets away from me, too.

PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

I watched this "Happy Accidents" movie on Netflix a week or so ago where Vincent D'Nofrio (however you spell his name) had this theory about time that the good moments seem to go by really fast while the crappy moments seem to drag on forever. Which is probably true.

Deborah Walker said...

You get feedback from the pro markets? Bravo, Rusty!

The thing about speed is you can only go as fast as you can. I consider myself a slowish writer. But the best thing I've done lately is to track the hours I actually spend writing. Boy, what an eye-opener. So if you have concerns I'd suggest spending a week actually tracking what you do.

Andrew Leon said...

You know, I wouldn't actually trust that any of those people that sent you rejections actually read the story to begin with.

Time... who needs it?

S. L. Hennessy said...

I couldn't agree with you more. One day I wake up and it's January, and now all of a sudden it's July and I have no idea how I got here and why my writing project doesn't seem to have moved along at all. Ugh.

Tony Laplume said...

I think it's our perception of time that gets a little screwy as we grow older, because we're more aware of trying to accomplish things, rather than living more purely in the moment, as we do when we're children, when we don't really have commitments. Waiting for something is infinitely different than trying to get something done, because then you're doing the things that are necessary to get between the two points.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

Of course time speeds up the older we get. Each day becomes less and less a percentage of our actual life. Since it is all perception anyway, then we perceive time as moving faster.

Vero said...

Oh I totally know the feeling. You just refreshed my memory like nothing else.

Unfortunately in my case it comes with the crass overestimation of the length of a day. I expect it to last 24 hours, but barely after coffee and a few paragraphs it's already evening!

M Pax said...

Six months makes me panic as not enough time.

Great on finishing your draft. Forward is forward.

Stephen Tremp said...

Good luck with all of the writing. Gotta do what you have to do to maintain that focus.

Jo said...

Wait till you get into the advanced stages of your life and see how quickly time passes. I'm not really that old am I? How did that happen.

Tonja said...

When I was working full-time, we planned projects out for the next year. At any point in time, I was working on something for the next quarter. I thought that was what was making time move so quickly.

But when I stopped working, it got worse. Today, if you told me it was really February 2012, that would make sense to me. But school starts in 5 weeks. WTH?!!

Good luck on your work.

Cindy said...

I have this method of looking back at things in detail from the beginning so time doesn't seem to go by so fast. It works.

Like my son is already 18 and it seems he became an adult so fast...until I look back at all the details from the time he was born. So it's just a matter of changing your perspective...if one remembers to do it.

Ciara said...

Between life, children, husband, work, writing, and running a house time blurs. I'm how old now? Yikes!