Time – the main ingredient

Time is undoubtedly the main ingredient that goes into writing. Yes, ideas are important, but we all have ideas. Ideas are easy. It’s spending the time that’s difficult. It takes time to write those ideas down, tinker with them, rework and reword them until they flow like a clear mountain spring.

Where do you find time? Time, unlike thyme, does not grow on shrubs. We are all busy people. It seems to be a symptom of the human condition. So when you find little chunks and nuggets and flakes of time, it’s important to grab them, for they are precious.

Fifteen minutes until your next meeting? There’s some time right there. Twelve minutes to spare in the morning while you eat your eggs? There’s some more. You can also borrow time from other activities. Half an hour you’d otherwise spend on Facebook? Sounds like time to me.

It’s important not to treat ten minutes as a worthless window simply because it’s so short. Yes, it’s hard to get into anything deep in ten minutes, but surely you can accomplish something. Is half an hour too short a time to work on something? Certainly not! So why should ten minutes be, if all it takes is three of these windows to equal that half-hour?

One thing we do at the Center for Writing and Speaking is provide a place for you to use your time. If you bring some of your time to our place, we are confident that productivity will happen. One faculty member recently had an article accepted for publication which she wrote almost entirely during our faculty/staff writing hours. Sounds like she used her time wisely.

We host open writing hours for students every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 2 to 4 in the afternoon. We have hours for staff and faculty Wednesday morning 9 to 12 and Friday afternoon 1 to 3. We have coffee, tea, candy, pens, notepads, citation guides, books on writing and tutoring writing, a whiteboard, computers, a printer, word games, comfy chairs, a lovely view of Ankeny Field…

All that is to say that our place is a great place for you to spend your time. And if you spend enough time, really good time, over time, a little time here and there, behold: you’ll have written something. And then it’s time to celebrate.


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