Back At It


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.


7 comments to Back At It

  • I feel for you, my friend.
    Good writing…

  • I probably shouldn’t mention that I’m at the beach right now..

    Then again, I stayed in yesterday afternoon because of my left shoulder that got a little more sun than it really needed (the downside of riding in a convertible), and I got nine pages done.

    *grins, ducks and runs away*

  • Isn’t Australia great, such fantastic beaches, food, fun and the people, my goodness they’re the salt of the earth, wonderful wonderful people…. (yeah I’m an Aussie, no bias here at all).
    Where exactly did you stay?
    As for getting back to work, I’m finding that when I try to allocate a time to write something comes up and drags me away, so I just write whenever I can, and have given up television (it was sucking my soul out of my body anyway), so there’s time right there.
    Hope you overcome inertia soon.

  • Thanks, Faith.

    Misty. Misty, Misty, Misty. I wouldn’t stop running just yet…. 😉

    Australia IS great, Natalie. We had a phenomenal year. We lived in the ‘Gong (North Wollongong for the first six months, then Woonona for the second half of the year). Our girls went to Gwynneville Public School. But we traveled a lot: Tassie, the Red Centre, Brisbane, Lamington N.P., Victoria (the Ocean Road, but also Ballarat and Healesville), the Warrumbungles, all over the Blue Mountains, not to mention trips to the North and South Islands of New Zealand.

    Anyway, I wound up having a pretty good day. Six pages; 1,500 words. It’s not nine pages [glares at Misty] but it was a good start.

  • Ah lovely Gong. I lived there for a little while, but wasn’t my taste. Though I did love going up to the mountain and looking down on the city.
    Blue Mountains are great, did you get to walk through them at all?
    Lamington is pretty special. I live in Rockhampton (Rock Vegas) and have the Keppel Islands off the coast, and the rainforests just up north. Although in summer it’s hell at times.

    Glad you got the writing going.

  • Beatriz

    David, you have *got* to keep writing or I’ll whack you with my hat. ~grins,ducks, runs to hide behind Misy~

  • Yeah, Natalie, the Gong was lovely. We did a fair amount of exploring inthe Blues, including a hike down into the Grose Valley to see the Blue Gums. My kids remember this as a death march, but my wife and I loved it. We did some other hikes there as well — Fitzroy Falls, Red Hands Cave, a few others. I’m blanking right now.

    Thanks for the prodding, Melissa. I’m afraid of that hat, so I’ll definitely keep at it. 🙂