Friday, August 7, 2009

School Starts Aug. 31st

My spouse and I have been talking a lot about how we need to schedule our work lives in order to meet our obligations. He owns his own web development business and has to juggle a work day that includes managing projects, clients and employees, and actually code websites. Not only does it take two separate sets of skills to manage and program, but managers and programmers use time in different way. Last week he sent me a link
to Paul Graham's discussion of the different ways interruptions affect managers and makers. Graham writes,
Most powerful people are on the manager's schedule. It's the schedule of command. But there's another way of using time that's common among people who make things, like programmers and writers. They generally prefer to use time in units of half a day at least. You can't write or program well in units of an hour. That's barely enough time to get started.
I'm a stay-at-home parent with great kids. They're independent and creative and don't need my constant attention to remain occupied and content, but I still have to carve my writing time between random, intermittent interruptions. There are writers who manage to work, and work well, in these conditions, but I find that I need larger blocks of time, two to three hours at least to get past "getting started" and on to "working hard."

How about you? Are you able to work through the distractions or do you need a large block of uninterrupted time?


Laura Bradley Rede said...

I read once that "motherhood means being instantly interuptable" and I think that is true. I have learned to work in scraps of time but it is far from my ideal, which I think is a 3 or 4 hour chunk. In short bits of time, I find it hard to get into the mental state you need to be in to really inhabit the story. It's sort of like how it's hard to get REM sleep if you are only taking cat naps. But if you have little kids you just have to make do with whatever writing time you can get!

Norma Boe said...

I love that quote. Tillie Olsen was a remarkable writer and advocate.