Under the heading of “A Long Way to go to Make a Point”: My wife is an academic — she teaches biology at the university here in town. She’s tenured and was promoted to full professor a few years back. She’s been at it for 16 years now, and is very good at what she does. She’s had two sabbaticals so far — for one she spent a couple of months in Canada and the rest of the time here doing research; for the other we went to Australia as a family and lived there for a year. A good friend of ours here in town says that coming back from sabbatical to teach is a little bit like pulling on a wet bathing suit. It feels lousy, but after a little time you get used to it.
That’s where I am today. (Told you it was a long way to go to make my point.) We had a REALLY good vacation. I blogged about it a bit on my personal site, so I won’t go into it here. But I managed to go a week without thinking about work at all. Now I HAVE to think about work again. I need to get back to work on the current book so that I keep up with my schedule. For me there’s nothing worse than falling behind on a project. When I begin a book, I have in mind a monthly page/word goal, something that will keep me on pace to make my deadline. If I fall behind, it messes up everything. I start to rush through sections in my attempt to catch up, and my writing suffers for it. I find that those passages I rush are the ones that need the most work when I go back through the manuscript for rewrites. It makes sense, right?
As I’ve written in past posts here and elsewhere, I’m a momentum writer. I do best when I build up a head of steam. Before we left for the beach, I was on a roll — 1500-2000 words a day, 30 pages a week. I was making good progress. Now that momentum is shot, and I have to generate new momentum. I have to overcome the comfortable inertia of inaction in which I reveled all last week. And I don’t want to.
That’s really what this post is about, when it comes right down to it. This is one long whinge. I was on vacation. I had fun. I was relaxed. Now I have to work, and I don’t want to. I. DON’T. WANT. TO. Yes, I love to write. Writing is a great way to make a living. Blah, blah, blah. As all of us have said here before, writing is a job. A great job? Yeah, sure. But a job nonetheless. And I’m not above saying that a bad day on vacation is better than even the best day at work. I don’t care who you are or what you do. Vacations are good.
So what are my secrets for getting back into the swing of things, for finding that momentum again? Well, I’ll go back and read through the stuff I wrote before we left for the coast. I’ll immerse myself in the world again, rediscover the voices of my characters. But when it comes right down to it, there is no secret. I’ll overcome this vacation-induced inertia the same way I overcome all the other problems I encounter in the course of writing a book. I’ll put my butt in the chair and write my book.
But for the record: I don’t want to.