Look! A Table!
I know, I know. My technological capabilities know no bounds. Ummm… Or, more likely, I twisted the arm of my IT boyfriend, flounced with frustration in the background as he drew these up (I hate not being in control) and screamed with laughter when he made a miniscule adjustment to one of my pieces of data. (I’d rounded 3.88 to 4. ‘If you’re going to have a scientific table, you need to be scientific,’ he told me, shortly before I killed him.)
So, I completed Tilly’s Sewing Productivity Project, just like she asked. My data (ooh, data!) covers the fortnight 9-22 April. This period includes a Bank Holiday Friday, so my sewing productivity is slightly higher than it normally would be because of the holiday. I didn’t include activities such as work, cooking, picking my nose or taking a shower because otherwise we’d be here for ever. I think it’s worth pointing out that I don’t have any children or dependants, so other than a full-time job, my time is pretty much my own.
My approach wasn’t quite as scientific as the above tables suggest. During the course of those 14 days all I did was keep my notepad close to hand, trying to watch the clock and scribble times down:
At first glance, the conclusions seemed screamingly obvious, my twin obsessions rising to the surface: sewing, writing, sewing, writing…
But then patterns began to emerge:
- My writing happens in big chunks of dedicated time, whereas my sewing time is often snatched in half an hour here, 45 minutes there.
- My sewing benefits massively from the fact that I work from home two days a week. That’s two days a week when I don’t have a commute and I can spend my early mornings, lunchtime and early evening, erm, sewing.
- My sewing benefits massively from those evenings when my boyfriend goes to the pub! I don’t really bother cooking a meal for one, preferring to sew instead. (I mean, I’ll eat, obviously, but I won’t be laying the table or cooking anything special.)
- I really need to stop feeling guilty about so much blogging! I’m a fast writer, and I now have the proof that it doesn’t take up a large chunk of my time.
- I’m not doing very much knitting at present.
The most fascinating aspect of this for me (and it may just be for me, so I apologise now) is that it forced me to analyse what part writing takes in my life. For anyone who doesn’t already know: in my spare time, I write children’s and YA fiction. Some of this is contracted, some of it speculative. By ‘speculative’ I mean that I spend a lot of time writing and honing fiction manuscripts that I hope one day a publisher will want to buy and publish and make me very happy indeed.
So. Hobby or profession? If profession, I wasn’t sure writing could be included in the productivity project. But, the other half of my brain argued, writing takes place in my spare time. Still, a small devil in my ear contested: some of it earns me money.
Garghhhh! I spent an entire bike ride home one evening thinking over this quandary. Here are my conclusions:
- I’d say about a third of my writing time is on commissioned projects ie work I’m going to be paid for.
- I write during my weekends when I could be doing other things.
- Writing fiction is deeply satisfying to me in a creative way. I do it because I love it.
- My earnings from writing are enough to pay for the odd bit of home improvement, the occasional handbag and to settle the credit card after Christmas. Ie, not that much.
Conclusions? Hell, yeah, writing was going into the Sewing Productivity Project! After all, this was time I could be spending sewing. But I am immensely grateful to Tilly for forcing me to think:
What does the most important activity of my life, other than work and sewing, mean to me?
I have no idea what any of this data means to you. How does it compare to your life? Any similarities or stark contrasts? I can’t wait to see what conclusions Tilly comes to when she combines all our feedback. This was a really interesting activity. And, as said above, it made me analysis my life, direction, the important bits, the less important bits and where I am in April 2011.
And guess what? I spend more time sewing than anything else. Just.
Thank you so much, Tilly! This was…