Tuesday, November 03, 2009

An Optimistic View of Writing Distractions

I'm trying really hard to finish this first draft of my next novel. Here are some things that are helping:
1. My critique group is loving it so far.
2. My daughter is loving it so far.
3. I am loving it so far.
(These three things are totally mind boggling, considering this is a first draft.)
4. I feel some pressure to finish this draft by the middle of December so I can a) enjoy winter break without feeling guilty for not working and b) sell the book sometime next year before everyone forgets I'm an author.

And here are some things that are definitely not helping:
1. I just cut about 20 pages because I'm pretty sure I was heading in the wrong direction. I was following my outline when I should have been following my characters.
2. My time gets sucked into the abyss by: doing laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, exercising, doing my hair, walking the dog, driving kids places, Facebooking, reading, watching TV, volunteering at the middle-school library, planning a retreat, buying birthday presents, teaching a writing workshop, doing school and library visits, being a friend, a wife, a sister, a daughter, and a mom. I fully realize that most of these things are the fabric of my life. I'm lucky and blessed to be able to do them. But still... they all take time. A part of me wants to hide away in a little cubicle and spend two weeks doing nothing but writing. I wonder how that would turn out.

And last but not least, here's something that might fall into both categories...
1. I'm taking a Harvard class online called Through the Looking Glass - The Philosophy, History, and Literature of Childhood with Professor Maria Tatar. Yes, it will take time (There are fabulous lectures to watch, books to read, and discussion groups to attend!), but I'm hoping I'll be richer for the experience, and maybe that will make me a better writer.

Come to think of it, all those "distractions," all those things that suck my time, they are all things that can enrich my life if looked at from the right point of view. So that little cubicle... no matter how inviting it seems... is really not the key to my happy life. My happy life is all around me, pulling me in a million directions, keeping things busy and interesting.

Maybe I'll finish this draft by winter vacation, and maybe I won't. But I will try my best. And I'll enjoy the journey.

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