Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Time Piece by Patricia PacJac Carroll

A Time Piece

Patricia PacJac Carroll, aspiring writer, fell into bed. With a heavy sigh, she realized that once again the day had been stolen from her. The tasks were undone, the list untouched. “Not again, where did it go?” She rolled over and shoved her face into the pillow.

Fortunately, her cry did not go unnoticed. For just in time a kindly friend, Nick, happened to be walking by and heard her plight. He rushed off to send a telegram.


“Hi Oh, time and away!”

Patricia scrambled out of a fitful sleep. “What was that?” The clock commanded it was time to get up anyway. She jumped out of bed and went to the window. Two men on horses waited on her lawn. “Don’t you know what time it is?” 

The tall one, wearing a mask over his eyes, remarked to the one with a feather in his headband. “This is the right place. She doesn’t know the time of day.”

Raccoon man turned his attention to her. “Ma’am, we’re here to help. We heard your time has been stolen by Time Bandits.”

Patricia rubbed her eyes, sure she was having a dream. After the fifth eye rub, she realized they had not disappeared. “Who are you guys?”

“I’m the Zone Ranger and this is my second hand, Pronto. We are here to help you take control of your time.”

Remembering her undone to do list, she nodded. “Hmm, I suppose I could use some lessons. I never accomplish all I want to and the day just slips away.”

“Time doesn’t slip away. You’re not watching, and it’s being stolen. The best way to help is to follow you around for a day. We’ll just stay in the background while you go about your normal routine.”

Patricia wondered how normal her day could be with a masked man in tight pants following her around. But she was a writer and use to strange characters. She did need to learn how to use time more wisely. Having talked herself into letting them help, she turned and motioned for them to come into the house. “You can put your horses in the garage. I’ll make some breakfast.”

She finished eating and opened her iPad. Halfway down the first paragraph, the gadget was ripped out of her hands. “What—”

The Zone Ranger held up the tablet. “Pronto, take a look.”

Pronto peeked underneath. “Kimo Seiko, there are at least thirty minutes hiding under here.”

Tapping his watch, he pierced her with a gaze. “You see that? Half an hour of your day was about to be stolen right out from under your nose. No wonder you don’t accomplish anything.”

“I had no idea. I guess it adds up. Okay, no more reading the news. I can listen to the radio and hear what’s going on in the world.” She cleared the dishes and then sat down in the TV room. She was on her second wave of surfing the channels when a loud noise startled her.

Pronto was behind the TV. “There are at least two hours worth back here!”

“Two hours? You mean I was going to waste two hours watching TV?” Patricia scratched her head and looked at the clock on the wall. It was already nine.

“That’s right. You would have lost the entire morning. Half your day. You have got to set Time Zones.”

“You mean like Central and Eastern?”

“No. I mean a time to write, read, and do errands. If you spent three hours in the morning on a specific project, you would be able to finish them.”

“Thanks, Zone Ranger. I—” The phone rang. She ran to get it, but instead Pronto grabbed the phone and hung it up.

Pronto shook his finger. “You can call her back during your break.”
“Break? What break?”

The Zone Ranger handed her a paper with a schedule. “You have a break at ten and another at two.”

“Wait a minute—”

“No, that is what you have been doing all along--waiting minutes. Just when do you think you’re going to write?”

“I can write anytime during the day.”

The Zone Ranger pointed to the clock face. “Do you see a number called anytime?”
“Of course not, silly.”

“But that is the time zone you have set for your writing. Instead, set a specific time, stick to it, and you will be productive.”

Pronto motioned to the Zone Ranger. “Kimo Seiko, we have another case.”

The Zone ranger nodded and then handed her a list. “Watch for these time thieves and set your time zones. Do that and you’ll be a prolific writer.”

She took the list from him.

Top Ten Time Thieves.

10. Visiting friends: Set limits and boundaries for yourself.

9. Eating: An avoidance technique of weighty proportions.

8. Reading newspapers, magazines, books: It is important to read. So set a specific time zone for it and you can read guilt free.

7. Reading what you have written: Especially things you are not currently working on. I know you think they’re good, but if you don’t get serious, you are the only one that will ever read them.

6. Video games, solitaire, free cell, word with friends: They are all expert time wasters.

5. Internet: Use for research, but be careful. It is full of rabbit trails that can take you away from your writing.

4. Emails, fb, blogs: Set a certain amount of time to go through them. Look at them only after you have written.

3. Phone calls: Turn off the phone if you have to. If it’s important, they’ll leave a message or call back.

2. TV: Need I say more?

1. Failure to set Time Zones: Specific blocks of time set aside to accomplish your writing goals.

Patricia took the information to heart, set her time zones, and guarded her time. 

Did it work? If you’re reading this article – YES!


Lisa Buffaloe said...

Yay Patty! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your clever time techniques! :D

High five swing to you!

jill said...

What a great and creative way to talk about this. You've just proved that you can make what might otherwise be a boring how-to very fun! I've been working hard at this this year, and it does make a difference. (And I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who reads my own writing. I had no idea it was common!)

Patricia PacJac Carroll said...

Thanks for the opportunity, Lisa.
Jill, don't we just love our own writing : )