Time Waits for No Writer

Where is the year going?

'Time Spiral' by  Alexandre Duret-Lutz  on Flickr, used under a  CC by-SA 2.0  licence

'Time Spiral' by Alexandre Duret-Lutz on Flickr, used under a CC by-SA 2.0 licence

Let’s face it: we all ask that question.

In fact, more people seem to ask it more often. Whether we’re 25, 45 or 65, time slips through all our grasps at ever-faster rates. Like we’re standing with our hands cupped under a running tap trying to keep hold of as much water as possible, and someone is upping the flow rate from one year to the next.

The longest day has been and gone. Everyone who wanted to flocked to Stonehenge for the summer solstice. Dusk will soon encroach on our evening leisure time once more and, even though it happens every year, we’ll all be shocked at how early it gets dark. Ray Davies said:

People take pictures of the summer, just in case someone thought they had missed it, and to prove that it really existed.

Lamenting the passage of time, particularly summer, is understandable. It’s what we’re programmed to do; a DNA legacy of our forebears. Summer can’t ever have lasted long enough for our hunter-gatherer ancestors - though I’m sure early humans were grateful not to have to alter their sun dials twice a year - but I wonder if their perception of time was similar to ours?

It Only Seems Like Five Minutes Ago

Maybe they said things like: “OMG! This winter has come around totes quickly!” (in whatever grunts passed for language). Or maybe the rush of time is actually a modern phenomenon, a symptom of our ‘always-connected’ world, as is often suggested.

After all, Earth has had plenty of practice at perfecting its rotation. The passing of time, the changing of seasons; nothing fundamentally new is happening. The tap isn't really being turned on further. Even so, I look out at the fading light at 10.30pm each night and I join the chorus of, “Where’s the year going?”

Now I'm Here

2014 has been a 'building' year so far, with nothing having a fixed timescale. A Tour of the Indies will be published, most likely by myself, but for now it remains dependent on the whims of publishing companies. I've set up this website, tried to establish a fortnightly blogging habit, and I've submitted a steady stream of new and adapted material to writing competitions, magazines and publishers.

And still there is more that could be done!

Factor in an increased creative workload in my day job and it's no surprise that I effectively become a hermit at times. But nobody seems to complain (should I worry?...!) and creating things makes me happy. That feeling of building something and, more importantly, working consistently means one day easily blends into the next.

Pacing Ourselves

What about you? Does time seem to go more quickly because you're consistently losing yourself in work that you enjoy? Or do you think time would still go quickly without that?

Time speeding by for a writer should mean we are pacing ourselves correctly. Hopefully we are excited to pick up tomorrow from where we finished today. It can also mean taking things slowly when necessary. The balance of time vs energy vs productivity is rarely an easy one to keep exactly right. When we overdo things, we have to acknowledge it, take a step back and relax.

It is possible to rush from one day to the next, burning ourselves out, and for time to pass quickly. But we'll never feel satisfied. Clocks can tick as rapidly as they want as long as we are working towards something positive, in a measured fashion, and we can still apply the best of ourselves to the other facets of life we want to enjoy.

When we apply ourselves in a committed-but-sustainable fashion, celebrating the milestones that we do reach is easily forgotten in the eagerness to keep going. Everything we do is building our future selves, so it is important to maintain a sense of perspective on the present.