I arrived at the dentist office at 1:40 PM for a 2:00 PM appointment. With a book due in less than a week, I was anxious to return to the manuscript.
The dentist has a television in the waiting room, so rather than trying to write with a talking head yammering in the background, I took a seat beneath a small tree on an island in the center of the parking lot and worked for 15 minutes.
I finished a chapter and revised the end of another.
I mention this for two reasons:
1. I meet a lot of people who claim that they can only write under certain conditions:
- Only in Starbucks
- Only in two hour increments
- Only with a cappuccino
- Only in the morning
- Only with ink and paper
- Only while listening to jazz
I have yet to meet a published writer who suffers from any of these limitations. I also like to remind these tragically limited writers that soldiers wrote poetry, letters, and novels in the trenches of World War I while wearing gas masks.
John McCrae wrote "In Flanders Field" after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypres.
Thank goodness he didn't need a cappuccino to write one of the great poems of the twentieth century.
2. I mention this because the question I am asked most often is "How do you manage to get so much done?" While I have many, many answers to this question, yesterday's writing session on the island of a parking lot is a good example of one of those answers:
I don't waste a minute. Rather than being precious about my time, I believe my time to be precious. Instead of waiting for ideal conditions to complete tasks and accomplish goals, I take what I can get, when I can get it. Time is our greatest commodity, so I don't wait a minute of it.