I have eight minutes until I walk out my front door into the not-quite blazing sun and walk my puppy up to the corner to welcome my son off the bus. In eight minutes, the part of the day where I get things done ends, and the part of the day where the house explodes in a fountain of papers and books and endless chatting and defrosted meat begins. By 3:30, I already have to surrender getting anything else for myself done.
It's now 3:24. I have my Word document open and my story has been buzzing along. I like it. I'm not having trouble writing. There are, of course, the niggling doubts that seem to hover when I get going too well on something. After all, if I'm writing, it must be bad, right? The only good writing I do is in my head.
But nevertheless, I ignore the voice that tells me my main character is swinging wildly from love to hate like a woman in menopause. I like her. I like the way she is changing. I know whatever is wrong with the mood swings can be fixed on revisions.
I have made notes as I go about what I want to write but don't want to break from the chapter to do. Conversations I realize I need in the last chapter. Details in the next. For the last fifteen minutes I've been typing well, and am half-way to my goal for the day.
Now it is 3:28 and I stare at the page where I know what I want to write, where I like what I am writing, and find my fingers gradually grazing the mouse button, switching screens to check email, to re-read a blog, update a twitter. I check Amazon. I watch the clock on my laptop tick another minute off.
I'm down to one minute. I could still eek out a few words. Words which would come easily if I just stayed on the document.
I want to write, but my mind is floating elsewhere, as though it knows the end is coming anyway and I should just surrender now. I had eight minutes and I squandered every one of them. Though I like the book, though I love writing, though I like this scene and know where it's going...
still my mind wandered off into a different screen, out into the vast internet, meandering lazily.
And now the precious minutes are gone.