Friday, September 23, 2011

All Consuming

[typed this once and lost it all; I'll try to recreate]
Yesterday, at the close of a busy day, I made out a to-do list for when I got home. Nothing fancy, just a list of six items I wanted to accomplish that evening, such as "go through mail" and "return EMB taxes to file". One item was "write at least 500 words on In Front of Fifty Thousand Screaming People". One, "prep book for mailing", I decided to leave till at work. I also had a few unwritten items on the list.

When I got home, after heating up leftovers for us, I did a few chores that had been accumulating that I wanted to get done before I would allow myself to tackle the to-do list. That took till almost 8:00 PM, at which time I went into The Dungeon. I did just a couple of things on e-mail and Facebook (part of the unwritten list), then went straight to writing.

First I re-read what I wrote the previous night, and made a few edits to it. Then I began new stuff. The characters are beginning to converge on New York City for baseball reasons. By 10:00 PM I had 1,408 words added, a complete chapter, and had finally filled in the gap between a scene I wrote a year ago and all that comes before it. That was a good feeling. I did a little more editing, and headed upstairs around 10:30 PM to relax before going to bed. I read for almost an hour, a most enjoyable time. Then I went to give myself my Lantus shot, and there, next to my kit on the kitchen table, was the to-do list. I had forgotten about it. All I could cross off wast the writing portion. For everything else, 11:30 PM was too late to be doing it.

All my time to work my list had been consumed with writing. Why does it consume me so? Why did I, when my butt occupied my writing chair, forget all I intended to do and focus so exclusively on writing that my plans were not just laid aside, they were forgotten?

Of course, I was writing important stuff. Most of it was scenes that had been playing out in my mind for months, but which I didn't want to write ahead of other text. Other stuff was new, such as how I decided to have the protagonist's parents miss the most important game of his career through an airport going through a security breach. Important scenes should take concentration to write. But, all scenes in a novel are supposed to be important.

There I go again, letting my characters and story overwhelm even this post. Somehow I have to find a better balance, to be able to write yet carve out some time for other needed things, those things that must be done for me to be a good Christian, husband, father, grandfather, employee, churchman, and homeowner. Maybe by the time I start the next novel I'll find that balance. With only ten to fifteen thousand words to go on this one, I don't think I'm going to care much if I find the balance before I write, "The End."

No comments: