|Photo by Andi Gentsch, via Flickr|
Years ago I came across the advice that exercise can help to kick-start stalled creative juices, so, since some sort of house cleaning had to occur at least once a month, I tried to convince myself that vacuuming was good exercise—a strenuous upper-body workout, albeit only on my right side. But to this day I remain unconvinced (as do the strained muscles in my right shoulder). Vacuuming only makes me cranky, and a cranky writer eats chocolate and checks Facebook.
So I invested in a time- and labour-saving gadget to make my life easier: a robotic vacuum cleaner. At first I was drawn to watch in fascination as “Beetle” laboured, making nice tidy bundles of dust bunnies and debris. Once I was confident of Beetle’s ability to navigate without getting stuck or nudging open forbidden doors, I reminded myself that Beetle was there to save me time—so what was I going to do with that gift of time? The answer was clear: this would be writing time, primarily, (or, occasionally, time won for necessary but otherwise easily-set-aside household tasks). While Beetle was working, I would work too. This was no time to check Facebook, or even for research (if I had instead used the money to hire a cleaner I would not be languishing on social sites and exploring Internet rabbit holes while someone else vacuumed my house). Like Jess, but instead of using a timer, I chose to turn Beetle on and get to work. Beetle runs for a minimum of eight minutes regardless of the size of the room, and there is a surprising amount of writing that can happen in that time. At the very least, it’s a start, and sometimes that’s all I need to get my working day going. That writing is never going to happen shoving a heavy Electrolux around.
What time-saving devices do you use? What do you do with the time this gives you? Have you ever thought of exclusively using that saved time for writing? Or do you have wonderful people who get the mundane stuff done for you so you can write?
|Elle Carter Neal is the author of the picture book I Own All the Blue and teen science-fantasy novel Madison Lane and the Wand of Rasputin. She is based in Melbourne, Australia. Find her at ElleCarterNeal.com or HearWriteNow.com|