I am writing a time travel novel with a chum. In fact, we have written TWO time travel novels and are just starting on the third.
They are really good, but what with working on Shriven Book IV (140,000 words and counting) as well as everything else work and family life throws at me, time is tight and we are finding it difficult to get them polished up and onto Amazon.
When I was at university, it was a constant struggle getting my essays in on time, and I had to negotiate an extension to one end-of-term missive. Why? What the hell else was I doing? What the hell else was there to do?
No meals to prepare (bakery across the road, Chinese two streets away).
No children or parents, no distracting PlayStation or Candy Crush. And what do I have to show for that three years? (Apart from a degree, obviously) Sod all.
I didn’t write any books, I wasn’t active in any societies or working nights with a swamp rock band. I didn’t even have a part-time job (this was the 80s).
Apart from the pile of Cosmopolitans I must have read, I did nothing apart from sit in smoky pubs and feel a bit sorry for myself.
I was single once for six whole months (serial monogamist, me), while living in my current house.
Just me to pick up after, to cook for (I lived on tortilla chips and Rolling Rock beer. Every now and then I would ‘cook’ – make pancakes), to wash and iron for (I lived in Lycra. Ironing took ten minutes once a fortnight).
Was my garden a lush haven of beautiful flowers and finely tended topiary? Nope, it was a chickweed-strangled netherworld.
Did I boast a finely honed yoga body thanks to the daily practise I had time to indulge in? Nope, my back was seizing up due to the marathon sofa sessions spent playing Tomb Raider and Resident Evil.
And the books I wrote…? You know the answer.
Anyone who has ever spent a week in a tent knows you expand to fit the available space. The same goes for time. When it is all just stretching out around you, you automatically slow your pace.
If I had realised at the time how precious all those empty hours were, what could I have achieved? Sod all, actually. It’s only when you can feel the diminishing hours snapping away at your ankles that you find yourself moving fast enough to outrun them.