How you know you’re in the flow

2885155839_57e9f40088_mTime is elastic. Even if we think we’re busy, we often have hours that can be redeployed to other priorities if we wish.

I was reminded of this during this past week as I’ve been revising my novel manuscript. With the feedback from my beta-readers (thank you!!), I’ve made a number of changes, and I’m getting into the characters. I’m seeing new motivations and story lines that I want to shape. Deep in the flow, I am really, really enjoying myself. As I see my investment of time make the book better, I want to devote any time I can to the project.

And so, I’ve been amazed this weekend what time appears because I want it to appear.

When my husband and I got home from date night at 10:15 p.m. Friday, we both sneakily picked up our laptops. Yes, we reconvened later, but that was an hour right there.

On Saturday morning, I had to get my car inspected. I took my laptop — and reveled in 90 solid minutes of novel editing time as I sat in the Acura dealership.

On Saturday afternoon, the toddler — who’s not the best napper — started rubbing her eyes at lunch. We quickly got her into her crib, and I scored another hour to work on the novel while the boys got their daily allotment of screen time.

On Sunday morning, during one of those low energy moments when no one could quite figure out what we were doing with the day, I took 15 minutes to rewrite a scene.

On Sunday afternoon, I thought naptime wasn’t going to happen because my daughter fell asleep in the backpack while we were doing a short hike. But then, when we got back home, she started rubbing her eyes. While she napped, my 6-year-old played in the basement and my 3-year-old went out with my husband. That was another 90 minutes.

That’s more than 5 hours devoted to novel editing during a busy weekend. It’s also 5 hours that would have been easy to lose to puttering, email checking, magazine reading, and cleaning the basement if I hadn’t had a project that was calling to me constantly. It’s much like when you’re reading a page-turner of a book, or watching a whole season of a favorite show on DVD. You magically find more time to read or watch because you really want to figure out what happens.

You know you’re in the flow when you start seeking out any time available for something you really want to do. What do you make time for, even in the midst of everything else?

Photo courtesy flickr user jasonr611

7 thoughts on “How you know you’re in the flow

  1. I’m with Arden–reading! I find time for it every day.

    BUT–I am going to start following your example, and use some of those short blocks of time for writing (and eventually revising). I’ve seen how much I can accomplish simply by working on a household project for 15 minutes. Now it’s time to apply that to writing.

  2. With the growing season underway, I make time to enjoy a farmer’s market, make a trip to our CSA, make meals full of fresh produce and find ways to preserve the goodness into the cold months. In 15 minutes, I can prep fresh strawberries for the freezer or blanch a few pounds of asparagus. The time investment now pays off handsomely in the middle of winter.

  3. For me, it’s crafting. But ONLY if I’ve already started a project. I think you hit on a great point – that you have to get started and be in that “flow” state to want to keep continuing during those bits and pieces of time.

    If I’m between projects, I just don’t have the motivation to START a new one in these “in-between” times. Hmm, food for thought.

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