Right now, and for the past several weeks, I have been revising the first draft of my novel. I enjoy this process. I finally know how everything's going to turn out in the end--something I didn't know for sure until I got there--and now all I have to do is go back to the beginning and tighten everything up. I have to remove anything that detracts from the story I'm telling. I have to strengthen everything that helps get the characters to their final destination. There are scenes I need to add to emphasize or deepen certain aspects of the story. There are scenes I have to delete because they lead the characters in the wrong direction.
A change of emphasis here. A dash of humor or pathos there. A sharpening of the dialogue to better reflect what the characters need to say.
It's all very enjoyable. The hard work is done.
So why do I find myself doing other things? Why, when I'm determined to sit down at the computer and write for four hours does the session become three hours? Or two? Or one?
There are many demands on my time, of course. Like most people, I have different kinds of activities every day:
- Things I must do.
- Things I like to do that enrich me.
- Activities that are nothing more than guilty pleasures
- Completing a workout.
- Undertaking marketing efforts to sell my work.
- Running errands.
- Tending to my Siberian huskies, Sunny and Storm.
- Keeping appointments.
- Doing housework.
- Preparing meals.
- Paying bills
Here are some of the activities I enjoy doing. I usually get to one or more of these every day.
- Spending time with my guy.
- Visiting with friends.
- Reading about a writer, actor or artist I am interested in.
- Looking at houses I might want to buy.
- Finishing a novel I'm in the middle of.
- Visiting galleries.
- Seeing movies.
These are guilty pleasures that I engage in every day. (Not all of them every day, but at least one of them every day):
- Reality TV shows (No, I won't name the ones I watch!)
- TV dramas I'm addicted to like "Dexter," "Homeland" and"The Good Wife."
- Chocolate orgies featuring Ben &Jerry's ice cream or See's Candy.
- Afternoon naps
NOTICE WRITING FICTION IS NOT ON ANY OF THE THREE LISTS!
Why isn't it on List #1: Must-dos? It should be. In a way it is. Except I figure I have to finish the other must-dos before I get to my writing.
Does that mean writing s on List #2? The activities I enjoy? No. Because writing isn't always enjoyable and I certainly don't do it to relax. IT'S MY WORK!
Ditto for List #3, Guilty Pleasures. IT'S MY WORK!
In a way, writing exists in its own category. It doesn't fit any of the three. And that's why I don't get as much writing done as I plan to every day.
There are a couple of solutions;
- Put it at the very top of the Must-do List.
- Dogs can wait, dust can gather, more meals can be takeout.
- Cut back on lists #2 and #3 (Or at least #3)
- Are you kidding me?!
Here's the thing: I can't seem to change the way I do things. I've thought about this before and tried to change--mainly by shortening List #1.
It doesn't seem to work.
I seem to be stuck with myself. But hey! It isn't all bad. The stories get written in the end.