Sunday, March 04, 2007

Muscling a Jagged Boulder Up a Muddy Slope

I've been working on what I'd call a mainstream suspense novel for just over two years now. In the first year, I felt remarkably productive, especially considering that I hadn't written for something like eight years and that I had very little time (and only got it in short stretches) to do any writing.

This last year, however, has been a different and frustrating story. I wouldn't say I have writer's block, exactly, since every time I sit down to write I manage to get something done. But my life beyond writing has been much harder than I would like (not giant tragedies hard. Just hard).

So I find myself working, once-again, on a strategy for getting something done when my life doesn't seem to want to allow it. I've been reading Wooden on Leadership and am loudly struck by John Wooden's obsessive attention to making the most of the limited time at his disposal. It seems an obvious idea, really, but I think very few of us pay enough attention to what it implies. And I think it's safe to say that virtual none of us pay the kind of laser-like attention to time that Mr. Wooden did (and presumably still does).

Wooden mentions in the book that he had his practice sessions scheduled down to the minute. And, even more interesting, he claims not to have been a great strategic thinker in basketball terms. Instead, he believed his success was attributable to his effective use of time.

While the details might sound extreme--he could tell from year-to-year, what he had done in a given minute of any previous year's practice--no-one can argue with the results, and the general notion, itself, seems indisputable.

So, in the spirit of the gentleman John Wooden, I am going to make a very conscious effort to squeeze the most out of the minutes available to me. If I make any headway on this front (and it proves a profitable change), I'll be sure to let you know. If I fail to make such progress in some interesting way, I'll let you know that, too.

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