Seriously, what the hell is going on?
Over the past year or so I have been updating the progress - or at times, the decided lack thereof - of the thrid in the series known as W3.doc. This may not be the longest dry spell I've ever had, but it's in the top, well, two or three. And overall, it may seem incongruous with my circumstances over the past couple of months or so.
For those of you not following along with every detail of my life, the day job involves working in the education sector. If you're a local reader, you'll know that our edcuation sector has, until very recently, been behind picket lines for five long weeks, three this year, the last two of last, punctuated by time off in the summer. If you're reading from afar, picture the marriage between Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner in The War of the Roses and you'll get a bit of a picture of the relationship between the two sides in this current dispute.
On the surface, it seems like these would have been opportune times for some extra productivity. With schools not in session for two weeks, followed by some vacation time, followed by three more weeks of unintended time off, I could have written three books. It's a good theory, one that makes me repeatedly beat myself up for failing to take advantage of so-called down time. Of course, the reality is actually much different. We spent the weeks behind picket lines more busy than I've probably ever been, undertaking those tasks normally performed by picketing workers in anticipation of the day when the doors would open. It was long, tedious and often tense as the dispute dragged on and cordial visits to the picket line became less welcomed. Yes, if you haven't figured out yet, I'm management (I prefer the term emperor but so far it hasn't caught on).
Coupled with my responsibility to my non-fiction work with my partners, which has also been much slower than I would like - and surely my partners would like - progress on the novel has been stalled for the better side of two months.
Yes, there are moments of despair, those angst-ridden self-talks about hanging up the word processor, abandoning the third book altogether and simply accepting the fact that I was a two-book wonder, better than a one-off fluke, but still far short of the writing career I had envisioned. Sometimes I even convince myself that it's okay. Two books is two more than a whole lot of people write. People who read them, fewer, to be sure, than I would like, seem to have enjoyed them. They received almost unanimously positive reviews, not just from my parents but from actual published book reviewers. Really, when I tried skydiving [pic] in my early twenties, I had two pretty successful jumps. On the third, I had an apparently not insignificant incident that I addressed during descent and lived to tell about. Perhaps jumping out of planes more than that third jump was pushing my luck; I haven't returned. Maybe W3.doc is my low-speed malfunction writing equivalent. Why push my literary luck?
And then a line of dialogue, or a relationship situation, or a fresh setting for Winston to wander through crosses my consciousness and I'm not quite ready to let him go. Truthfully, one of the key reasons I'm not ready to give it up is less to do with my need to publish and more to my unwillingness to let Winston go. I suppose that's a positive thing this character living in my head may have the abilityto push me forward. Or it may be a sign I need some serious therapy.
Thus, as we head into a new week, some new therapy. Okay, a re-launch of some previous therapy. Way back at the start of the year, I wrote about a plan that would have me committing to just twenty minutes a day. It was actually quite productive.
Until I stopped.
So, in the interest of meeting my 2014 commitment, or at least getting as close as I possible can, starting Monday, I will commit to the 20 minute per day regime. Let's see where I get.
Next week: the writer in residence