I was at a party once where a well-established mystery novelist told me she was lucky if she managed to write for an hour or two a day, the bulk of her schedule being consumed with book promotions, Twitter, Facebook, newletters, her blog. Seems we’re all performing the same high-wire act. Without a social media presence, without Bookbub, 99 cent promotions, Goodreads competitions, mailing lists, and all that ongoing effort, chances are that even the best-crafted novel will languish, lost and crying out unnoticed, in the wasteland of Amazon’s millions of fiction books. Well, boo-hoo, I can almost hear you say. After all, this isn’t high school English – no hoary old professor is forcing us to come up with the next Ellie Campbell book. And juggling time is nothing new for writers. Most of the literary greats had to fit in their artistic endeavours with full-time jobs, squeezing precious hours out of the early dawn or burning the midnight oil.
But still I wistfully think – wouldn’t it be nice to get a sense of balance? And have a life beyond the laptop? Are we all being forced to multi-task way beyond our natural capacity, checking our emails while sitting on the toilet while brushing our teeth? Lifting your nose from your mesmerizing screen only to discover six hours have vanished, the husband has walked in the door and dinner is still a frozen chicken and a bag of groceries lying unpacked on the counter along with the breakfast dishes. We all have responsibilities shrieking for our attention: children, elderly parents, pets that need feeding or walking, even horses, (some of us). We have bodies that ought to be exercised more, friends that are feeling neglected, the guilty sense that however we spend our precious time, there is so much out there being left undone.
Recently I decided to tackle the exercise element. Being hopelessly disorganised and blaming Google for half my woes, I turned to the enemy for help. Yes, there are apps, endless apps for every need — Schedule Planner, Lose It, Map My Dog Walk – but to motivate me out of my swivel chair, I needed something simple and fun. Pokemon Go sounded promising but I hate those ugly little blighters and I’d probably fall in a ditch. So I downloaded Zombies, Run. Now I’m not just walking the dog, I’m listening to a story while looking for clues to save mankind as well as evading the heavy breathing shuffling footsteps coming up behind me and gaining supplies to build my township. Unfortunately, I’ve had to switch off the Zombie Chase feature until my cracked rib heals — I tripped on a pavement after all — but still I am getting out there daily and enjoying it!
Next I want to tackle The Walk, from the same developers, Six To Start, which throws you into an espionage story starting in Inverness in the Scottish Highlands and walks you the length of the British Isles, using your phone’s GPS to map your progress. Oh, and for that messy house? Tody promises to get your cleaning organized, UFYH offers some foul-mouthed random challenges, Home Routine lists your morning, afternoon and evening tasks, dividing the house into manageable zones and Epic Win allows you to be a warrior princess, unlocking a fantasy game as you accumulate points by completing your to-do list.
If you can’t escape this hi-tech age, join it, right? Will any of this actually make a difference? Too early to tell but if has anyone knows of another method that can turn a procrastinating dreamer into a fully-functioning Superwoman, pass it along in the comments – please, pretty please!!!