This evening I went to a reading by John Kessel, a published science fiction author and professor at NC State. I was pleased to learn that his writing process is very similar to mine: he spends a lot of time thinking about an idea, works on a first draft slowly but is relatively pleased w/ it when it's done, and then spends a lot of time re-writing -- loves the revision process. I also found out that he can get caught up in the procrastination, and also doesn't get as much time to write during the semester because of his teaching responsibilities; but, come summer, he gets into a writing groove. Just like me!
I can't tell you how much this validated me. I've been getting down on myself for not being disciplined enough, for taking too long to get a draft done, for not balancing my writing career w/ my "day job." And here's someone well-respected, published, who faces the same challenges as I do.
I'm going to email him and tell him how much I enjoyed the reading.
And here's another bit of writing news: I've decided to self-publish my first novel. I've been on the fence about this idea for the past year, and in terms of fiction, it never quite felt right to me. I wanted to take a shot at getting an agent. And while I haven't sent out nearly enough queries, I'm concerned that the longer this first book stays unpublished, the more dated it's going to be. The novel is four years old already (and geez, how did four years pass in the blink of an eye?), and it's already generated interest from students, friends, family, etc. Add that to a better understanding of viral marketing, and I think it could sell books.
I'm not sure what fully turned the tide for me, but since I've made the decision and started telling people, I feel better and better about it. It definitely has its disadvantages, and I'm not going to stop querying agents, but I'm confident that something good will come of it.