As part of my New Year’s promise, I’ve been tracking my time to see where it all goes. I know there’s a huge chunk of it dedicated to the job that pays the bills. But I wanted to know about my spare time. It felt like my time for writing shrank over the past year… like I wasn’t getting any writing done.

I was wrong.

I’m averaging 2000+ words a day with writing in my spare time. Yet, I don’t have the projects to show for it. Now, I know why.

For a long time, I was suffering from sleep apnea, and for a number of years before I started treating it, I was developing problems with my memory. I could still recall stuff, but it was hazy… fuzzy. It was that song where you knew only a few key words from the lyrics but couldn’t remember the title or band, and everything was right there on the tip of your tongue and drove you crazy cause you couldn’t recall it no matter how hard you tried. My mind was like that for a long time… so I got into the habit of journaling.

I’d write down stuff I thought I’d need to remember or wanted to remember and review them from time-to-time to help out. I could then repeat details back to people even if the memory itself was still fuzzy in my brain. It wasn’t a perfect system, but it helped me fake remembering stuff. It helped keep me going even though I knew there were memories I wanted to have for real.

But as I recovered from my sleep apnea, I still kept the journaling habit. The problem with that was… I was remembering more, so when it came time to write down stuff I remembered from the day, there would be more-and-more memories to transcribe… and more details to each to write down. It was taking up a lot of my free writing time, but it was second nature to me. It was such a habit, I didn’t realize how much time it was eating up.

Until I started documenting what I spent my free time on. It was quite a shocker at how much writing I was doing just for this. And I took a deep look at it. Was it just a reflection of me remembering more? Or was there something else to it? Was I hiding something from myself? Covering up for a fear or something crazy like that under the cover of writing? Keeping myself from thinking about it because I could easily see I was writing a lot?

It was procrastination through productivity. Even though it was kind of a false productivity, it was still a means for keeping me from projects and writing the things I wanted to. So now, it’s time to cut back on it. I’ll still keep it going because it’s a great means to work out issues and solve problems I’m stuck on, but I need to dedicate more time to the truly productive writing.

It won’t be an easy process. It never is when dealing with long-term habits. It’s something I’ve built up for over 10 years now, so I can’t expect a habit like that to go away without a fight. But it’s time I tried. It’s time I put up a fight. It’s time to see what I’m really capable of as a writer.

Who knows? Maybe by the time I get this all worked out, the Writer’s Guild will have their strike all wrapped up. Or maybe not. We’ll see.