It’s the last day of July, and I have just finished 1) shovelling the revised academic-press manuscript off to the editor who might be interested in it, and 2) organizing all of my medieval history manuscripts, maps, charts, and books into a format where I can simply pick it up and start work on October 1.
So I made it. Hit the deadline. Would be looking forward to my two-month break, which starts tomorrow, but I feel totally flattened.
The longer I write, the less I seem to understand the creative process. But here are four principles I do know:
1. Inspiration only comes to those who plant their bottoms in their chairs for scheduled work times. The best tool in a writer’s kit is, as Elizabeth George puts it, “high quality bum glue.”
2. Writing is a way of thinking. You may not know what you’re saying when you start putting words down on paper, but as the words go down, the ideas behind them slowly begin to illuminate themselves.
3. Writing drains your mental and emotional “tank,” and the only way to refill it is to stop writing for a little while and read, read, read. (With the TV off.)
4. Hitting a big writing deadline never feels like a victory. It feels like a blank spot.
So here I am on the last day of work, looking forward to my vacation.
I’ll let you know how tomorrow morning feels….