The Necessity of Quiet Time

When I was younger, I had so many ideas for novels and stories that I wrote them down and kept them in a folder. While more developed ideas post-date the early ones, the majority of story ideas in that folder still date from my sophomore year in high school. That was also the same time that I started writing poetry in earnest. And short stories. Then, after coming back from Japan, I launched this blog (originally on blogger).

Recently, two things have changed to curtail my output: increase of responsibilities and lack of quiet time. When I was a kid, I had lots of free time, but I never worried how to fill it. If I wanted to play video games, I played video games. If I felt like reading, I would read. If the weather was nice, I’d go outside. If friends were around, I’d play with them.

Even in Japan, where I had less free time (and where I took a year-long break from working on my novel), I made sure to record my experiences both with a camera and with a diary. Writing became a way of reflecting on and connecting my multiple experiences together. There, whenever I wasn’t working, I had quiet time, and I used it.

So what changed? Certainly increased responsibilities in Seattle hasn’t taken away that quiet time, since I had just as many responsibilities in Japan. There, however, I was limited in when I could use the Internet (either I had to pay to use a cyber cafe, or I had to share a computer with my housemates), and used it almost exclusively for email. Has social media and the rise of cell phones ruined my ability to create quiet spaces for my brain?  Or has technology ushered in too many distractions that can be witnessed from the comfort of my home?

Perhaps what has really changed is my perception of time. When younger, I didn’t worry about it running out, and so ironically used it more efficiently than I do now, living completely in the moment. Now, I realize how quickly time moves, and so I must plan if I want long-term projects to come to fruition, which means keeping an eye to the future as well as on the present.

This is why I’ve recently created a schedule for writing. It’s flexible, but not so flexible that I won’t write at all, and yet not so rigid that I can’t plan around it. I hope that, by creating a schedule for writing, it guarantees that, ten years from now, I won’t be concerned — as I am now — about how few poems/novels/ short stories I’ve written/published in the interim.


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Author: Greg Salvatore

Writer. Voice Actor. Humanist. Feminist.

2 thoughts on “The Necessity of Quiet Time”

  1. Greg! I was going through my bookmarks tonight and came across your blog, which I’d found and bookmarked some time in the past year in a fit of nostalgia and “I wonder what he’s up to?” I meant to comment, but didn’t until now and who knows if you’ll even remember me, buuuut.

    I hope you are doing well! I also hope your writing schedule is going well. That’s something I should have… Being an adult is hard for me, at the moment, and not writing is, well, easy.

    1. Bethany! I absolutely remember you and your blogs. I’m doing very well, thanks.

      I wouldn’t sweat not having a writing schedule, as I stopped following mine almost immediately after writing this post. It’s mostly there to show me that, yes, I do have time to write, especially when I’m procrastinating or on my phone. Plus, sometimes you need to have some fun.

      One thing that HAS helped me is that a friend and I meet up once a week to write for two hours or so. We each have our own things to work on, so most of it’s done in silence, but by meeting up once each week, it guarantees that we’ll at least have that amount of time set aside for writing. Of course, when we have to cancel, I end up finding all these errands I suddenly have to do, and the time gets wasted. But oh well.

      Adulting is hard for everyone. Hang in there.

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