Sunday, June 14, 2009

Trying to Concentrate

This weekend has not been good as far as writing is concerned. Yesterday morning I did my usual Saturday work outside the house routine. I cut down a 30 foot dead tree on the adjacent lot, where we are trying to create a small, park-like area (we don't own this lot; it's vacant and forested; I suppose we can use it until the owners retire and build a house on it). I only had a few other things do to outside, so came back into the house.

Before I could write, I decided I'd better read a chapter in Team of Rivals. I'm making good progress in that and am ahead of even my most optimistic schedule. Still, as of this afternoon, have 160 pages to go, but the reading is easy and I should finish by next weekend, if not before.

Then I came downstairs to the Dungeon, intent on writing something, either work on a chapter in my novel in progress, or a Bible study in progress, or begin to flesh out some freelance ideas I had, but as I sat at the computer I found my mind had no powers of concentration. I couldn't even read e-mails. I played some mindless computer games, tried to read e-mails again and got through them, played some more games, then left the computer to file various household papers. That worked fairly well, because I got through some papers that did not have a place prepared. That meant I had to concentrate enough to determine what the place should be and prepare it and file the paper. That included a number of items related to my completed, in-the-drawer novel.

That done, I came back to the computer, but still couldn't write. A writing related task I had on my mental to-do list was to set up a spreadsheet for freelance writing accounting. This isn't on a critical path, since I have no income as yet (at least none paid; I have some accrued), but still just having the system set up will make it much easier to keep track of things. Still, that wasn't writing.

I never could get much done. I did some hand-writing on an idea for a magazine article, and I read some writing blogs, but nothing that could be described as progress. Lynda returned home from OKC about 8:30 PM. I had supper prepared (though she ate on the road). I just turned to reading for the evening. Having read a chapter in ToR, I decided to pull out Tolkien's letters and read them. I'm at the point where he was finishing the proofs and then seeing published The Lord of the Ring. That was interesting and satisfying, until one long letter to a bookstore owner/operator who had questioned some theological items on the book. Tolkien painstakingly explained how he had no theological agenda, that the book wasn't allegorical, and how this and that item had been misunderstood, etc. I got through that letter, but was left with no mind for anything else. So I went to bed, earlier than normal for a Saturday night.

So here I am in the Dungeon, at the computer, about to begin writing. It seemed a blog post would be a good place to start. Even with that, I have interrupted my writing several times to play a game. Cursed games! I have four or five writing projects I could work on, and will turn to them now. Perhaps I can get in two or three good hours from this point on, and face the new week really feeling like a writer.


Gary said...

OK, quit stalling. You're anticipating rejection again and shouldn't get into that habit. It's not concentration that's the problem; it's motivation.

Don't make me be a drill instructor... ;-)

David A. Todd said...

Oww! That felt like a swift kick in the rear.

I suppose you are right and I am just stalling (more than distracted). I'm not sure anticipation of rejection is the problem as much as fear of success. If I make a success of this freelance thing, it will consume all the time I have for creative writing, leaving no time for novels, Bible studies, etc. Oh well, I can save that till retirement, which is only 8 years, 6 months, and 16 days away (or, once the current Congress and Administration get through with their spending, more likely 10 years give or take two years).

After I posted, I had some success. I went upstairs and did some writing in manuscript, and somewhat broke the jam. Now on to typing.

Anonymous said...

You know I typed that with a big grin. You engineers are too linear (and we programmers are too). Succeed first, then worry about managing it. Eventually you will get so good at writing (not far off, btw) that it won't take as long as it does now. Then you can get all those things done in the time available.