I have to say I do amaze myself with my ability to come up with something new for Thursday’s Children every week! You see as Thursday approaches I rack my brain thinking ‘what on earth do I write about that relates to what inspires me as a writer?’ But somehow – so far – I’ve always had a flash of inspiration. I realise that this run of ideas may well soon dry up, but I’ll enjoy it while it lasts. 🙂
Today I thought I’d consider time and what it means for us as writers. Well actually it means everything as I’m sure you’d all agree. But there are different aspects to what it means, different aspects to time itself and how it affects our writing.
I don’t know about you but when I consider time, how we’re constantly moving forwards through it, it kind of does my head in. Like when you consider the fact that every present moment we’re in is continually becoming the past. So what is past, present and future? Is there any past or future, or are we just kind of in an eternal present? That may sound daft to you. You’d probably say to me of course there’s a past and a future. And this is true in that we have memories of the past and plans for the future.
But what do we actually experience at any given moment? The answer is the ‘now’. We are constantly in the present. Time is moving ever forwards – although actually my husband tells me that scientifically time doesn’t necessarily only go forwards, it can go backwards, it’s just that we only experience it moving forwards. OK I digress (that science part is true by the way, don’t ask me how, I don’t understand it I just know what I’ve been told!) but my point is this: that for us humans on planet Earth time moves inexorably forwards.
This means that for each and every one of us time is precious. We all would like more of it – I know I would anyway. I often wish there were more hours in the day and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Sometimes I find it hard to use the time I do have productively, to make the most of the hours in the day when I’m not asleep to do a bit of everything, to cover all bases so to speak.
I often find myself wishing I’d done more of one thing and less of another. For me particularly (and you may be surprised by this) it’s to do more writing. More actual proper working-on-my-WIP writing, not just updating my blog, although that’s important too.
Time is also important in the novels we write. What novel isn’t concerned in some way with the passing of time, or at least has a storyline affected by it? Indeed many stories have their entire plot entwined with time. Think of the many stories out there concerned with time travel for example. Numerous films, such as the Back to the Future trilogy, are concerned with time travel and its effects. From early on the concept of time travel has fascinated authors such as H.G. Wells who wrote The Time Machine which was first published in 1895.
I know of many modern authors whose writing is concerned with time travel. Think of The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, an interesting take on the whole time travel theme. Then there are those novels which flit about from past to present and back such as The Legacy by Katherine Webb. There are many more.
However we see time, whether it’s as something we don’t have enough of, that we struggle to always use constructively or as a tool in our writing, it informs all of our lives. I know it’s a cliche, but we only have one life and I guess it’s up to us to use the time we have to the best of our ability.