The birds are full of springtime, too – swooping about and singing. They’re terribly busy.
One of my writing friends made a comment not long ago that she feels like she’s losing to time. She’s revising and is afraid it’s taking too long. I can understand this. You spend months writing a novel, then months revising the novel, then months waiting for people to respond to said novel. Sometimes those responses send you back to revising for more months and you wait even more months for responses, which are usually “no, thank you.”
And it can feel like wasted time.
It’s like you’re forever working at a job, hoping to be paid one day. There’s a crushing sense of urgency, that if you just worked a little harder, a little faster, that maybe you could cut out, oh, a decade or so of the waiting.
Yesterday I posted a chapter from the family memoir I started writing, oh, a decade or so ago. Several people who’d been fans of my nonfiction work from way back jumped on it and asked when I planned to finish that book. This book, in fact, was the project I won my Ucross fellowship for, and spent my time there outlining. (If you get a chance to do a writer’s residency like this, it’s OMG wonderful. They make you feel like you’re curing cancer.)
See, my plan had been to break into genre fiction, have a nice income from that, and get to spend time on these harder-to-sell nonfiction projects.
Hey – the plan is totally working! It’s just, um, taking a decade or so longer than I planned.
So, a couple of people have suggested I work on more than one project at a time. Even contemplating this makes me feel a little crazy. It’s tempting. When I take a few deeps breaths, I can see the fantasy of it unfolding. How I would move forward the new new novel, The Middle Princess, finish one I’d set aside, expand a short story into a novella, write the family memoir, and and and…
Then I start to feel crazy again.
I think about how I could work it in. I could take my two hours of writing time in the mornings and split them – one hour each on two different things. I’ve thought about sitting down again at night and spending an hour on a different project than the morning one. Then I also start thinking about how I wanted to set aside more time to read every day, so if I’m going to restructure, I should do that, too. The only two things I don’t think deserve more time are the day job and online socializing.
At least I’m smart enough now not to consider sleeping less. Which is absolutely how I created more time when I was in college.
My day job boss argues that there’s no such thing as multi-tasking. He says it’s just pretending to pay attention to something when you’re actually doing something else. But I suppose I’m talking more here about serial tasking. Like, some writers work on one project on alternate days, doing another in between. Or rotating three or four. Or just working until they get stuck on one, then switching.
I’m a monogamous kind of gal, really, but I can be convinced. How do you all do it?