Friday, November 26, 2010

Moderation, and Other Mythical Animals

A writing-oriented blog, as there hasn't been one in a while... I've been revising the 45,000 word middle-grade novel, and am nearly done, and then stalled with the general duties of my day job. Shifting writing to the office was a good move, when it works. When my day job actually needs more of my day to do it, though, it seems like I should be up at some ungodly hour of the morning writing or something, but that hasn't ever worked very well for my sanity and therefore our family schedule.

So, revisions stalled, but I'm trying to see that as a positive thing. At the point where they stalled, temporarily of course, I was tempted to rush to end them. By having a break from the process I will aim to be more patient on returning to it. Meanwhile, I'm strongly tempted to dive off and get back into work on the dystopian YA novel that has me utterly interested in it. I keep promising myself it'll be the reward for finishing the revisions on the other.

And yesterday when I checked my email there was one from an editor asking for another non-fiction piece for a national magazine, which I'm very happy about. I think juggling short-term rewards like magazine writing, which goes to publication comparatively quickly, with the longer-term rewards of novel writing, is a good combo.

But already I wonder how much writing time I'll manage to carve out in the near future. I tried the "staying up until all hours because art demanded it" and that just doesn't work for me as a maintenance plan for productive writing, given the aforementioned day job, and the fact that I am a much better mother when I don't have dark and forbidding circles under my eyes. I'm loaded up on a full-time teaching schedule, which includes a graduate seminar, next semester. I have an intern, which should mean "helper," but actually means a lot of supervision. And a visiting international scholar from China for whom I'm the official mentor. It's a paying gig, which is awful to say, but really the only reason I take on extra duties at the moment in order to save up for an upcoming sabbatical.

So I need to think longer term all the time! Maybe it'll just be maintenance writing until the summer next year. Or maybe I'll figure out how to work in an hour or two of an evening, and go for moderation. I'm a boom or bust kind of person, so that's a challenge. Still, I'm reading up a storm, which these days counts as "pre-writing," so it's not all wasted!

It's been a luvverly week in London, not least for having time to think about such things, but I'm looking forward to getting home and back into the fray, and the magazine assignment.


  1. Ah... London! I'm so jealous. I need to get back there sometime. Maybe when my kids are older?

    Personally, I am an all-or-nothing writer. I tend to take deep dives rather than hanging out in the wading pool. So when I write -- almost always late into the night once the kids are asleep -- I do it for something like 67 days in a row and write a 500-page monstrosity. Revisions for my novel have been ongoing since then. I just finished my fourth global revision, but I nitpick whenever I feel like it. It's really difficult to do my day job (well, I teach at night, too) when all I want to do is write. This is why I need to make it onto the bestseller list, so I don't have to divide my attention so much. Now, if only I could get an agent to accept this lovely book of mine. (The fourth revision just convinced me that it really is freaking good. I just need someone to give me a chance!!)

  2. As I started reading your post, I was thinking, "I have to ask her when she makes time to write." And then, of course, you addressed it. I have the same problem with the dissertation (as you know), and it's even worse when I think about fiction projects (which I would love to work on). It's made worse by the fact that if I don't have to grade and prep in the evenings, I just want to watch a show with the Hubs. Not conducive to writing, no Siree.

    I'd love to hear more about your trip to London, unless it's all on the down low. Happy Big American Holiday to you!

  3. Fie: Well, as soon as it's out, I'll buy a copy! Keep on with the grind. It'll work out.

    GEW: I know. Two major writing projects going at the same time sounds... pretty tough, really. And you do have to segment and protect your time. Watching show with the Hubs is very important!