Making time for work, or, This novella ain’t gonna revise itself.

Today, I’ve spent a lot of time dodging people, and trying to make the time to write and revise. It’s imperative that I make the time work today, because I have a half-revised novella on my hands, and I’m due to send it out next week. The prose ain’t gonna polish itself, amirite?

But for some reason today has not been a day of quiet, thoughtful work. It’s been an obstacle course. My phone is ringing. The dog is needy. My neighbor would like to talk to me, right now. Another neighbor has decided to start mowing his lawn with the loudest lawnmower ever invented. My husband, busy with his own job, needs me to run an errand. On that errand, I run into people who want to speak with me and ask me how my summer has been and what plans I have for fall. When I come back, my cat has decided to impress me by attempting to eat a Nintendo DS charger. Sweet lord.

I understand that none of these (except for the charger-eating cat) are unreasonable things. Running an errand while my husband is busy is no big deal, it’s good that my dog is affectionate, and most people actually like to make small talk. It’s polite. They’re being nice. I’m the unreasonable one.

None of the people I met this morning know that I’ve been revising in my head since I woke up. None of them know that while they are talking about their plans for the rest of August, I’m thinking Do I just cut out the first two pages? But then how can I make the opium den believable? And do I really have to lose the part about the chickens on the Fung-Wah bus? I mean, come on. Everyone likes chickens.

No. The people I met this morning just think I’m a rude, distracted-looking woman who hasn’t showered today, and was late for my errand thanks to two wrong turns and a near accident. It’s probable they think I have a decreased mental capacity, or that I’m insane and need to be confined.

Evidently I think I need to be confined as well. Right now I’m holed up in my office, hunched over my laptop. I’ve seen myself in the mirror. I look like a crazy person. Maybe we should pad the walls in here.

Why am I writing this instead of revising? Two reasons.

First, because I need to vent. I’m afraid that if I don’t vent, I’ll burst into tears and shriek Leave me alone, I’m thinking about chickens and whisper videos, dammit! at the next person who asks me how I’m doing today.

Second, because I think it’s important to write and think about making the time to work. So often, I put off the things I want or need to do because people are calling me, or because I forget that writing is my job, or because I enjoy writing so much that it can sometimes feel like play. But writing is work, and in this case, for me, it’s serious work because someone is waiting for it. This is a discussion writers need to have often, because I think many of us forget that writing isn’t just fiddling around with a pen and paper or a keyboard. It’s serious work, and requires a commitment.

And now that I’ve said all that, I’m hitting the “publish” button and logging out so that I can get to work.

Now.

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2 thoughts on “Making time for work, or, This novella ain’t gonna revise itself.

  1. Oh My God! That’s some blog entry. I loved reading about your process and can relate to a lot of it. When the urge to write is there and you have so much to say it’s difficult making small talk, answering the phone, loading the dishwasher, paying bills and anything else that can distract you from what you really want to do – which is write – revise. Don’t waste your time reading this Ann – just write, which you do so well. Jane

  2. I actually fear people who are put together while running errands. Either they have nothing better to do, or no passion for doing it. Often wonder what the harried are really doing inside 🙂

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