In the Swamp

I’m beat.

Alas, I think this is a state of being that’s likely to continue until at least the end of February. My secret is that I’m actually TERRIBLE at multitasking. However, I am excellent at pulling ridiculously long hours to get something done in three days, so that I can move along to the next task.

It’s not really cramming, because every project gets a very carefully appointed spot on the calendar. More like strategic slogging, I suppose. This month has mostly been eaten by the interactive fiction game, another Ontario Arts Council grant application, and the Six Stories, Told at Night stage adaptation (with some Apex Magazine podcastery thrown in there). Amidst all this, I keep poking at the novel because the constantly-breaking momentum is wrong-footing me.

This isn’t how I like to write novels. I like to write them over intense bursts that last four-to-eight weeks. Back in December, I was hoping to finish Beer Magic by the end of January, but it looks like I may finish it during my February writers’ retreat.

Such is the writing game, sometimes. As they say, “You can’t always get what you want.”

So what do you do, in these cases?

Honestly, I think there’s only one thing to do. You take a straw, and you suck it up. As I’ve always said, paying work and contracted work gets done first, work with hard deadlines comes next, and then you figure out the rest.

(Excuse me whilst I balefully poke at the novel a little more.)

“Jo Seated on the Old Sofa,” by Norman Rockwell (1938).
I feel an immense kinship with this painting…

But paradoxically, sometimes when I’m overwhelmed the best thing I can do for myself is…not write sometimes. Otherwise, I can drive myself into a tizzy. So…reading. Baking. Drinking adult-type beverages with friends. Going to choir and post-choir hangouts. (Honestly, I think choir is the thing that keeps me the most grounded.)

That sounds like a contradiction. Suck it up—but also don’t worry, go have fun!

Okay. Sometimes, yes, you have to be a writer first.  Strap on your Grown-Up Boots and stomp through the swamp of unwritten words. But we’re also humans, and if we neglect that side of ourselves, what will we be good for writing, anyway?

I firmly believe it all comes down to scheduling. Everybody has twenty-four hours in the day. It’s up to you to decide how those hours get filled.

The swamp is good, in the end. It means there’s a lot of really cool stuff on one’s plate. And besides, it’s excellent practice. Writing is hard, after all. Theatre is also hard. Doing both?

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Anyway. I hope you have an excellent week. Carry on!

KT

What I’m Listening to This Week

I’ve been listening to this piece, but I’m not sure how I feel about it. Byron’s “She walks in beauty” is one of my favourite poems, and this choir is lovely, but I feel like I wanted more melody to match the metre, less preoccupation with moving chords.

Still listening while I figure my opinion out.

 

Posted on January 22, 2018, in Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. You are right that all comes down to scheduling. And choosing the priorities. For me, the problem is not with a list thing to be done. Problem is to follow my schedule! And I cannot say that I do not have time-I have a plenty! At the moment I do not work, my only task is to do some home chores like shopping, cooking for my hubby and…re-writing my CV from English to French (long story short-we moved to France -more details on my blog.) And I, a person who at work was always multitasking, somehow, at home isn’t. I spent time doing things non-important (spent hours to write a dozen reviews on my TripAdvisor account or I read books – a lot).
    I do not do what I supposed to do. I felt so bad that is Monday 22nd, and I again did nothing (apparently I had remorse), so finally at 11pm did 2 things from my list: dyed my hair and exercised.
    I know, I’m lazy but is hard to change your habits.
    Anyway, I promised to my husband that my CV will be ready at the end of January. The clock is ticking…

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