I was chatting to a work colleague the other day about writing and the subject of my ebook came up (and I promise this is as close to a plug as I’m going to get). He was wondering about why I chose the title Doodling for my book and questioned me on whether the idea for the story came while I was attempting to make the time pass a bit more quickly during work meetings.
In a number of ways, he was fairly close to the mark. I basically chose the title because of the random, stream-of-consciousness kind of way the story developed. However one area he was not correct about was the location – I definitely didn’t come up with the idea during any meetings at work.
But this got me thinking, and the question I asked myself was, “Why not?” After all, as someone who works full-time and only writes part-time, I really should be taking every opportunity I can to optimise my writing opportunities. And let’s face it, we all know meetings are utterly wasted time as far as actually getting any work done goes.
So why wasn’t I taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity? Why wasn’t I taking the time for some brain-space, in order to figure out my latest plot-twist or generate that new character I needed to move the story forward? Why wasn’t I, under the cover of taking detailed notes, doing that revision on chapter 3 to nut out that one paragraph I just couldn’t seem to get right?
Well frankly, I have no idea, but I’m not going to make that mistake again. From now on, whenever someone puts a meeting into my schedule, a little bell is going to go off in my head that says, “Writing time!” I can’t wait. I’m so excited. Not only have I found a way to escape the mindless tedium that meetings induce. I’ve also found a way to massively increase my productivity as a writer. Who knows, I could get another two or three novels out by the end of the year.
So this is my advice to the part-time writer and full-time worker. Don’t miss out on the wonderful opportunities that meetings present. Look forward to them. Encourage them. Make the effort to go out and organise a bunch of them yourself – any kind of excuse should do. And then just watch those words begin to flow.
About Jonathan Gould:
Jonathan Gould is a Melbourne-based writer and doodler.
He calls his stories “dag-lit” because they’re the sort of stories that don’t easily fit into the standard genres. Some might think of them as comic fantasies, or modern fairytales for the young and the young-at-heart.
Over the years, his writing has been compared to Douglas Adams, Monty Python, A.A. Milne, Lewis Carroll, the Goons and even Enid Blyton (in a good way).