Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Flight of Time by Alicia Dean

(This is the article I wrote for this month's Novel Notes Newsletter (an author newsletter that Leah, Diane, myself, and my critique partners put out together)...I hope it's okay that I cut corners :))

It cannot be April, 2016 already, can it? Where has the first quarter of this year gone? Where have the last 10 years gone? The last 30?  I know it’s an expression, that time flies by quickly, but it really, really does. Is it just because I’m getting older or is it the insanely busy world we live in today? Or…what? I don’t know, but I’m truly amazed at the way time literally speeds by. It seems as though my children were babies only moments ago, and now they are 32, 30, and 23...impossible!

As it turns out, studies have been done on this very topic (surprised? I didn’t think so, what topic HASN’T been studied?)

Some of the theories on why time zips by so quickly as we are are...

1. We gauge time by memorable events.
In 1890, psychologist William James hypothesized that humans measure time by memorable events. Since so many exciting and new experiences take place when we’re younger (first kiss, driver’s license, prom, graduation, etc), the events seem to have happened over a much longer time span.

2. The amount of time passed relative to one’s age varies.
For a 5-year-old, one year is 20% of their entire life. For a 50-year-old, however, one year is only 2% of their life. This “ratio theory,” proposed by Janet in 1877, suggests that we are constantly comparing time intervals with the total amount of time we’ve already lived.

3. Our biological clock slows as we age.
With aging may come the slowing of some sort of internal pacemaker. Relative to the unstoppable clocks and calendars, external time suddenly appears to pass more quickly.

4. As we age, we pay less attention to time.
When you’re a kid on December 1, you’re faithfully counting down the days until Santa brings your favorite Hot Wheels down the chimney. When you’re an adult on December 1, you’re a little more focused on work, bills, family life, scheduling, deadlines, travel plans, Christmas shopping, and all of that other boring adult stuff. The more attention one focuses on tasks such as these, the less one will notice the passage of time.

5. Stress, stress, and more stress.
The feeling that there is not enough time to get things done may be reinterpreted as the feeling that time is passing too quickly. Even older individuals (who are, more often than not, retired from work) may continue to feel similarly due to physical handicaps or diminished cognitive ability.

SO...when you wake up tomorrow, and it’s already Christmas, just know that it happened so quickly due to your advanced age. Feel better? :) 

Since our time IS so limited, I have been sharing weekly 'Two-Minute' tips on my blog for a while now. I decided to publish these tips in a book, and it was just released last Friday. It's 99 cents for a limited time...

In today’s busy world—and writers are far busier than the average human being—there is little time for lengthy, detailed, intensive writing courses and writing manuals. 

Knowing how rare and fleeting a writer’s time is, Alicia Dean posts a weekly ‘Tuesday Two-Minute’ writing tip on her blog where she shares her knowledge, experience, and wisdom in tiny, bite-sized pieces so as not to squander more than 120-second increments of a writer’s precious time. 

Now, you can get those tips all in one convenient place. In simple, quick and easily digestible servings, this book shares loads of advice for writers. Tips such as… 

• Recognizing and eliminating filter words that distance your reader 
• Understanding Point of View – How to fix it and why 
• Writing Faster Drafts 
• Clearer, concise writing 
• Tips for more effective Tweeting 

No matter your level, from novice to experienced author, you will find something beneficial in Alicia’s handy, quick reminders. 

Purchase from


Jannine Gallant said...

I couldn't agree more. Seems like I just hauled my oldest off to college, and now she'll be home in a month. I write like crazy almost every day to finish the current book instead of slowing down to enjoy the process and the characters. I think we all need to take a chill pill...

Vonnie Davis, Author said...

Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end of the roll the faster it gets used up. Great post. Like Jannine, I've been writing like crazy on HER'S TO HEAL. I'm determined to get it sent in to my editor today. Why am I here dawdling? I'm preparing for one last sex scene...like my nearly 68-year-old roll of toilet paper, it'll be short.

Margo Hoornstra said...

So true, Ally. I'm currently babysitting my 4 year old grandson. He's been waiting for lunch time - we've promised something special - since 7 am. Noon is taking sooooo long to get here! Two Minute Tips. Gotta get my copy.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Thanks for the timely tips. My epitaph will read: "She Wasn't Finished." I'm working on my bucket list steadily, however, so it's not as if I'm procrastinating. I always said I'd live to be 100...that would be about enough time to get to the bottom of the bucket.

Alicia Dean said...

Jannine, it's crazy, isn't it? Yes, I just feel like I'm on a runaway freight train sometimes!

Ha, Vonnie. Excellent analogy. Good luck with your deadline, I'm sure you can get that sex scene written to perfection! :)

LOL, of course, it is taking FOREVER for him, I'm sure. And, for you, he'll be a grown man before you can blink. Thanks...hope you enjoy it if you do!

You are quite welcome, Rolynn. :) I have never made a bucket list, I'll probably kick the bucket before I get around to making the list. :/ LOL. Maybe you'll live to be 100 and finish up that list!

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

You are so right on so many levels...never seems to be enough time in any given day.

But, I learned a quick prayer/mantra that sounds strange but actually works for me...

"Time expands to meet my needs."

You see, there is no time in eternity...Einstein said time was an illusion...so if this is true, we have more time than we think. When I feel rushed or like I'm running late for an appointment or something, I repeat this over and over and so far, it has worked to get me where I need to be on time or with a few minutes to spare.

Try it!

Good luck and God's blessings

Diane Burton said...

You are so right about time flying. Wasn't I just 30? My babies are in their 40s already. I must have been a child when I had them. LOL

Alison Henderson said...

I love your Two Minute Tips - perfect for busy writers! I've noticed an interesting phenomenon since I retired: time seems to pass more slowly, yet faster at the same time. I'm not at the office anymore, so the pace of my days isn't as hectic. I don't race around wondering how I'll ever get everything done. I can take my time. Yet, somehow, the days themselves slip by, almost without my noticing. Years seemed to be compressed, and my baby is about to turn 30. These days, I'm trying to just breathe and let life happen. If only it wouldn't happen so darned fast!

Alicia Dean said...

Wow, Pamela. That's interesting. I'll have to give it a try. Thank you!

Haha, yes, Diane. You MUST have been. Sigh...

Isn't that odd, Alison. What a phenomenon, but I know what you mean. It's a very odd concept, this time thing. :)

Alicia Dean said...

Oh yes, and thanks for the kind words about my Two-Minute tips. ;)

Diane Garner said...

Great article, and I loved everyone's comments!

MJ Schiller said...

I really think our busy lives are a huge part of the equation. We try to squeeze every minute out of every day and just burn through them. I loved these theories you presented though, Alicia! They were interesting and made me think. They all seemed to make some valid points. and I loved Vonnie's comment about life being like toilet paper. I think we could support that analogy in a number of different ways... ;)

Leah St. James said...

Like MJ, I think lack of time/stress is a huge factor, at least for me. (Thus the fact that I'm late to comment on almost all the posts on this site!) I did enjoy thinking about the various theories, though...except for No. 3. I don't get it. If our clocks are slowing, why isn't our perception slowing with it? Don't worry--it's me. I don't get the time-space continuum either. :-) Good luck with Two Minute Tips! I never miss your blog and have my copy of the book for quick/easy reference!

Alicia Dean said...

Thank you, Diane!

I appreciate you stopping by, M.J. It is sort of interesting to think about why time goes by faster as you age.

Leah, trust me, I know all about the lack of time and being late to comment on posts. :/ I'm not sure if I understand number 3 either. But maybe it's the contrast? Since our internal clocks are slowing, time itself seems to be speeding up?

Linda Joyce said...

Time in a bottle. Time slips away. Time has a wonderful way of showing us what matters.
In my life, time goes at warp speed and about other things...sooo slow.
Alicia, I thought you might appreciate this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCqAt6-sptk

Linda Joyce

Anonymous said...

Boy, I don't know about the biological clock slowing but my metabolism sure has, Maybe that's related? I have found, however, that time in short distances moves slowly--for instance, since breaking my shoulder it seems like AGES between each week marker. By the time I get to Xmas, it'll seem like it all sped by so fast...