Tuesday, August 18, 2009

new year's eve

Now that the new academic year is about to kick off, you're probably going to see fewer posts from me (especially during those weeks when I'm reading four sets of papers at once); but, I will try my best to post on a regular basis, and pithy posts at that.

In the meantime, I've been invited to do a video blog interview for Lulu.com next week -- how cool is that! Of course, my main worry is whether to go with straight hair or curly hair... it's nice to know I've got my priorities in order. The interview will likely be posted around September 1st. Stay tuned for more details on that.

I've also been hard at work making final edits and formatting adjustments to Ordinary World. I'm very pleased with the way this novel has turned out. Even though it's a sequel, it can stand on its own. The characters have evolved in depth and complexity, and I think you'll like it as well. I am always astounded to look at a finished novel, and I marvel that I wrote all those words and manifested those ideas -- where did they come from?

I miss my writing partner in crime, however. Miss her terribly. Between her crazy rotation (she's finishing up her clinical requirements for her chiropractic degree, in the northeast, I remind you) and my divided attention between course prep, editing and formatting, and other people's manuscripts, our own poor manuscript has been patiently waiting for us to pay attention to her again. Last night we had our first Google Chat in what seems like ages, and spent most of it confessing how much we miss each other and the writing. "I miss talking to you and our friends," she said. Well stated.

Of course, now that summer vacation has come to an end, I look back on it and assess just how much of it I spent writing. Truth be told, I wrote a lot: blog posts, tweets, Facebook, personal writing, and so on. But I'd be curious to know the actual word count of my fiction drafts. I added some new scenes to Ordinary World, started to work on the dialogue exploration for the writing contest (need to find out if the deadline has passed for that one), sketched out ideas for a brand new novel (two, actually), and did some work on the current manuscript. But not enough--at least not to my satisfaction. Part of that is because my co-writer and I are finally at the point where we need to be in the same room to work together. But the other part is... well, I simply kept choosing other things to do.

I mean, let's be honest. Any project or task to which I assigned priority was by choice. So to say that I was "too busy", or "where did the time go" is just an excuse. I think this is testament to my poor time management, but it's also something that I invite all writers to use for self-reflection. If you are not writing (and no one says you have to be that uber-disciplined guy who gets up at 5 a.m. and writes 5,000 words before breakfast), but what choices are you making in your life that puts writing your book at the bottom of your list? And what's behind that choice? I'm willing to bet a day's salary that it's fear.


The start of a new academic year for me is like New Year's Day. I make resolutions. I vow to be the best I can be, be it teacher, writer, author, colleauge, friend, sister, etc. Perhaps this academic year I'll resolve to think consciously about my choices.

And finally, I leave you with this: a Facebook friend's status reported that Amazon.com recommended his own book to him. Now that's something to aspire to!


Elspeth Antonelli said...

Joy to you as you embark on another New Year! Don't beat yourself up about not writing prodigious amounts. Having a life is good too. The writing gets done when it screams to get done - and in my experience that's when the decent writing occurs. Discipline is great (oh, I just went to a bad place), but self-flagellation is silly.

Congrats on 'Ordinary World'. It sounds anything but.

Elisa said...

One thing I've noticed is that when the time is scarce I make better use of it.

And thanks -- can't wait for you to read it!