Doing It In Garbage Time

Most of us have a favorite time of day, be it in the wee hours or at high noon, and often that time represents when we work best.  The ideas flow, and we can accomplish a lot. Of course, some will say that all time is precious, and only our attitudes have to change accordingly. But if you belong to that section of the population that is still occupied with other jobs or with raising family or with ill health, then it may be that the only time you’re given for creative work is when you’re at your lowest ebb physically and mentally.

You may be trying to create a thing of beauty in garbage time. At least it may feel like garbage time, new agers notwithstanding. So how much you work and what you accomplish is a big test of your goals, your dreams, and some way of yourself.

Say you want to finish a book.  Doing that is not just putting in the hours; this time has to be productive and you have to show pages of quality.  Do you commit to that process even if your health, already precarious, is further compromised? OR do you simply re-frame the goal and tell yourself you are just working for the process itself and for self-expression. That could serve for some people, but it’s not an easy decision, given how you have always pictured yourself.

Your day job may be so demanding that you have little energy left for art. Do you change jobs? Is that even possible without loss of income and security?

Maybe you have to move, not too difficult if you are single, a lot harder if you have a family whose lives you will change.

Maybe you can buy the right time, by borrowing money and allowing yourself to not work at that day job that interferes with creative output.  Still, if your family depends on your income and you don’t succeed in landing a big book contract, how will that debt affect your lives? Will there be resentment down the road and thus further misery for yourself?

You can pay it forward, by saving money to take six months off a couple of years later. That plan also depends on your ability to save significant money—not so easy these days.

Whatever you decide will have an impact not only on the existence of the product itself, but also on your sense of self, on the degree of your self acceptance, on the strength of your family relationships, and on the worthiness of creative dreams.

What is commitment to creative spirit and what is mere fantasy and vanity? We never get to know exactly and completely, do we?  Each one of us has to craft a solution to the problem of time, and that solution will feel as special and as hard-won as the finishing of the project.

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