Finding time in the cracks

Print by Teddy Nash
Print by Teddy Nash

Time and I have a convoluted relationship. It doesn’t help that time masquerades as linear when really…

Well, you’ll have to chat with Einstein (or Ruth Feldman) about true nature of time. All I will say here is that time is not what we think it is. Or actually, time is precisely what we think it is. If I’m sure there is “no” time, then I am rushed and overloaded. If I am convinced that time is bountiful then space opens.

But let me get to the point before I topple into metaphorical chaos. Writing takes time. Books get written word by word. Those brave souls that participated in National Novel Writing Month committed their Novembers to throwing down 50K of those suckers. To “win” at NaNoWriMo, they had to clear the decks and “make time” for the novel writing almost every single day. (Bravo to each and everyone that did it!)

True confessions: I am NOT a NaNoWriMo-er. I do not have the constitution for it.

I am a crack writer.

No, I’m not taking after Toronto’s crack-smoking mayor.

What I mean is that no time is too small for me to get something done. I can’t chain myself to the idea that if I don’t have a 2-3 hour window of time then there’s no point in writing. I certainly prefer large blocks of time, but often they are not there. Life has this pesky habit of intervening so I grab what time I can.

The week before Thanksgiving, I spent the majority of every day building a library in my house. (This is TERRIBLY exciting and BEAUTIFUL and pictures will be coming, I promise!) However, in the midst of construction, I was also scrambling to finish a novel revision for my agent and make headway on the nonfiction book that is due in January.

I got up early and nabbed 45 minutes before the kids woke up. I used the hour between when they got on the bus and my fab library builder helper showed up. I used the 30 minutes of daughter’s piano lesson and the time waiting in the car by my son’s soccer field. I still went for my runs in Forest Park (because there is no better way to break through knotty revision issues). I still made food for my people. Life continued, and I got the work done.

The novel is in the hands of my agent. The nonfiction book is queued up for another revision. The library is almost, almost done.

It’s Monday morning.

Time is my boundless ally.

I’ve got coffee, and I’m writing in the cracks.




5 thoughts on “Finding time in the cracks

  1. Thanks Amber.
    I love this reminder of abundance of time, especially in December when a whirlwind can take me over if I’m not aware. Best wishes while filling those cracks with words.

    1. One key is to realize that a paragraph is good enough. I like to think in bite-sized pieces. Maybe I have a small brain. 🙂

  2. Hi Amber,
    Nice to meet you. I just discovered your own book and your blog when I was copying a link to your grandmother’s book into an email to a friend of a friend.

    Now that I have found a living link to the book I love, I would like to tell you what it means to me. Your grandmother’s words describe all the joy I have ever felt when I am in Algonquin Park. From the first time I ever camped there, I was in love with it. I have never become as adventurous as your grandmother but since reading her book, I became more than ever resolved to make Algonquin Park a bigger part of my life and so, thanks to the generosity of my father, was able to buy a cottage on the east side of Algonquin near Whitney in 2011. My husband and I are still fixing it up as it is from the 60’s but it is a perfect spot.
    I see that Smoke Lake is your magic place, but if you ever go on a drive, come over to Hay Lake and canoe there. Although not entirely in the park, it is quite beautiful with a lovely lodge on the shore. It is quieter on the east side and the people are more serene and content to live a simpler life than on the Huntsville side.
    The owner of the lodge, Erin, is a wilderness lover like you.

    You truly were very lucky to have such an amazing grandmother.

    All the best,
    Dale Elizabeth Northcote

    1. Dear Dale,
      Thank you so much for your lovely note. It thrills me that you connected with my grandmother in such a profound way. She was an amazing person and a huge influence on my life. I will forward your note on to my dad, John, who helped with Grandma’s memoir. Hay Lake sounds wonderful. I’m so glad you found your own place of the heart.
      With all my best,

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