By Shelley S. Cramm
“How do you find the time?” And so the banter begins when I tell a friend about my new writing career wedged in the middle of my current one, that of a wife and mother of five. New…it still feels unfamiliar despite seven years of organizing, writing, and promoting my first book, and now creating a blog to help form and shape my next one. Then again I still consider myself a beginning gardener after 25 years working our land, from newlywed apartment patio pots to the suburban back yard of our married life. Both writing and gardening have built-in humility, making their practice frustrating yet beautiful, elusive and full of grace.
It’s no wonder a career combining both leaves me wondering if there is a better way. I’m forever exploring efficiencies and best practices. I don’t have an answer, but I have observed that a small effort applied consistently over time – snippets, if you will – can yield much more elegant results than I feel worthy of. This is the beautiful, full of grace part that is a welcome balm in the bewilderment of how-will-this-ever-get-done??
With this is mind, I offer my three most valuable snippets, inconsequential pockets of time throughout the day that can be turned into productive moments. A few strategic snippets of time supporting longer, more in-depth work sessions will make all the difference in output and polish.
- Pre-Dawn: My husband and I rise before dawn to gently come to our senses before we are catapulted into the day. In this quiet hour with a composition journal (and coffee…lots of coffee!), I “free play” with a topic and let it unfold before me, scribbling, doodling, and sitting in amazement at any new intelligible thoughts appearing on the page. Rarely a complete essay, yet often a gem phrase or summation emerges, creating a starting point for the more intentional writing time to come later.
- The Waiting Room: Since I became an author, I have never waited in line – idly, that is. Every doctor appointment, carpool line, and post office visit provides a moment for edits and rewrites. This is not easy in Texas where most people standing next to you in line are ready to chat and become your instant BFF! After the inevitable cordial weather reporting and Dallas Cowboys commentary, I turn my attention to forming and shaping the rough drafts of the day, printed out before I left the computer (if you are new school, always bring the tablet along).
- Pre-Dinner: Rewrites of the rewrites follow me to dinner prep, just as favorite harvests from the garden find their way to the kitchen. As in all things the party always moves to the kitchen! After putting soup on to simmer or setting a roast in the oven, I scoop up written pages and take a pass at them once more, hoping I suppose, they will soak up the surroundings and reflect garden-to-table goodness.
Snippet-writing may not seem ideal, but it is the same advice I give to time-stretched gardeners. Work diligently in the small, humble moments. Overcome the overwhelming with the power of snippets.
Meet the Author
Shelley S. Cramm, is the General Editor of God’s Word for Gardeners Bible and writes the weekly blog at www.gardenindelight.com. She joined GWA five years ago with little experience and a big commission to explore the Bible from a gardener’s point of view. Education and encouragement to write, market, photograph, and speak on her work came primarily through GWA.