A financial windfall never covers as many purchases as I expect, so I shouldn't be surprised when a gift of unscheduled time fails to accommodate as many projects as I'd like. In the distance it looms toward eternity, a big blank spot on the calendar, but as time goes on I pencil in projects and meetings and other commitments. Three whole free days! I can do anything.
But I can't. I can write a chunk of an essay before running to a meeting and then write a letter of support for a student before going to another meeting and then maybe scribble a little more on that essay before the jazz concert tonight. And then tomorrow? All Scholars' Day: I'll support students' research projects by attending presentations scheduled at various points in the day starting at 9 and ending at 5, but I do some more writing in those odd-shaped hours tucked between presentations.
And then Thursday? One class and then a whole lot of writing time to finish the essay that's due at the end of next week--except I also have student drafts coming in and a pile of papers to grade.
So my three relatively free days to focus on writing have turned into three days of snatching a few moments to write here and there between other important (and therefore distracting) events. My big empty landscape somehow got crowded with obstacles! Fortunately, there's nothing like a looming deadline to keep me focused while traversing those welcome empty stretches between all the obstacles.