I’m coming to think that one of the reasons I’ve been feeling busy despite working part-time might be that I’m more easily thinking up things to do than I did when the best part of most days was occupied by work. This is particularly true of writing, where I’m adding two entries a week to this blog and several hundred words a day (on average) to the novel that I started during National Novel Writing Month last year.
One of my reasons for participating in National Novel Writing Month was to see what happened when I committed myself to writing a thousand words a day, as I’d heard some writers do. Though I didn’t quite make it—I ended with about 25000 words in 30 days—the experience did show me not just how much I could get done when committing to this sort of discipline but also how working on project like this kept on generating ideas. I would surely not have thought of many of the plot developments, characters and jokes that I used had I simply sat around trying to think up such things; but putting the characters in situations and seeing what might logically (or humourously) follow from them kept on generating new situations and new characters.
I feel that I’m on a similar roll now, across a broader range of things. I have the writing projects that I’ve already mentioned, projects around the house, skills to learn, and starting A Little Research, many of which I would not have thought to do while working full-time and expected to spend most of my productive energies at work (or, if I did think of them, made of a note of them but never got around to actually doing them).
Working full-time, I often came home feeling too tired to think about doing anything with my spare time. I’d developed ways of combatting this, such as cooking dinner and reading a chapter of a book before trying to do anything after work when I got home in the evening, but I frequently enough found it difficult to think of much to do or have much enthusiasm for it after spending seven or eight hours in office followed by a crowded peak hour commute.
Of course committing to being in an office for 7-8 hours each day is a form of discipline as well, and probably helped me generate ideas for teaching students and (when I was a researcher) for writing papers, but it lacked the variety that I have at the moment, and often left me feeling even more tired than I do now.
Already I feel as if it might be time for a holiday, and I probably will take a short break later this month when I have a few SCA events to go to. But I’ll likely enjoy my holiday more if I can go on it feeling I’ve finished at least a couple of the projects that I’m working through at the moment.