Thursday, October 13, 2011



This is a self-serving blog in which I marshal my arguments for changing my life. I’m using this forum as a means to explore the issue and I hope it resonates with readers who are or have been through the same process.

Apparently Salvador Dali marked three phases in his artistic career by adopting three very different signatures. As my own reinvention progresses I am considering this but as many report that my handwriting is illegible I don’t think any change would be apparent to anyone but me although it might serve as a constant reminder of what I am trying to do.

My reinvention is progressing in a jerky spasmodic way. I am examining various facets of my life and evaluating whether to continue, replace or eradicate.

To hasten the process I have decided to relocate for the better part of a year in the hope that a new environment will foster creativity. In this new location I will not spend hours in the car getting from A to B and this will give me more time for a creative life.

Secondly, I have vowed to eliminate time-wasting pastimes. This will be a slow and painful process but to gain time to do the things I want to do I need to enforce my decisions. Scrabble - is one game a day possible or will it have to be cold turkey? The cryptic crossword - perhaps only on Saturdays. House and Garden television - do I really want to spend my life watching people decide which house to buy?

What will I do with the time I save? Because this is a writing blog one answer obviously will be to write more, to keep myself glued to my chair despite the siren call of the refrigerator, the dutiful response to dogs pleading for more walks or my body’s need for more exercise. I will need deadlines, self-imposed, but there. To require myself to complete a certain number of pages before I allow myself to do something else even if that means working in the evening or getting up very early.

The obituary columns constantly remind us that time is short. I hope I can make better use of my time.

Joan Boswell is a member of the Ladies Killing Circle and co-edited four of their short story anthologies: Fit toDie, Bone Dance, Boomers Go Bad and Going Out With a Bang. Her three mysteries, Cut Off His Tale, Cut to the Quick and Cut and Run were published in 2005, 2006 and 2007. In 2000 she won the $10,000 Toronto Star’s short story contest. Joan lives in Toronto with three flat-coated retrievers.


  1. Joan,

    I feel your pain and can relate. I've been working on my first novel for over a year and I am finding it hard to stay glued to my seat long enough to make any headway or progress.

    I'm sure some of this is a result of the fact that I am a single parent with two kids that works full time outside the home and there are days that I intend to write but by the time I get home and get things done and the kids settled, the energy has been sapped away.

    Perhaps I need to do some re-evaluation of my time spending and make sure I commit to completing a certain number of pages per day so I can see this novel come to life.

    Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone and good luck to you.


  2. THis is inspiring, Joan. Ease off on the Mahjong, you say. And cut back on the Food Network? That still won't help with the lack of self-discipline. But it's a start. Thanks.

  3. You'll have to let us know how it works out, Joan. I keep reinventing myself - riding my bike, checking out my Crackberry less, being more relaxed about...well, everything - and it doesn't seem to last. I guess you just have to get up each morning determined to make some little changes that are good for the soul and the body.

  4. I'm thrilled with this reinvention, Joan, as it means we'll get to see much more of you. And maybe your new writing routine will inspire me to "keep myself glued to the chair."
    Way to go!

  5. Thanks everyone. Becky, hang in there - it's tough trying to do it all when you're a single parent. If it works i'll post a report. if it doesn't I'll slink off in shame.

  6. You always amaze me, Joan! I love your approach. It's hard to know which pastimes really waste time, as I keep reading that scrabble and crosswords keep the brain exercised.

    However, we have only so many hours in a lifetime and it's a great idea to use them wisely.