Garçon! My bottle, s'il vous plait!
I am an easygoing person. I don't make demands, I have only a few bizarre quirks, most of which don't intrude on anyone else's life, and if I have a problem, I usually figure it out myself. I don't need luxury or a lot of money, I am uncomfortable being waited on, I don't care very much what I eat, and if I don't pull my own weight I wallow in guilt and more than make it up to you the next time.
Anybody could live with me. Mussolini could live with me. Zsa Zsa could live with me. Paris Hilton and Sean Penn and Benvenuto Cellini? I could get along with all of them, I bet. Or they with me, at least.
But now I am learning, in this year of 2009, to be a bit more high maintenance. I have to get this book done. My deadline (Aug. 1) looms. I have made little forward progress since the beginning of December. I have to start being selfish about my time. I have to start making demands.
Now, it's hard for me to even come right out and say that I'm writing a book. It sounds pretentious. It sounds lofty. It sounds embarrassing, because it is such a small book, an insignificant book, a book that while, yes, I have a topic and yes I have a contract and yes I have a publisher and yes I've written 40,000 words, I still feel like it's bragging in a most unseemly fashion to ever mention. And when I do, I have to hastily explain that it won't be any good and it's not very serious and it's nothing that anyone would ever actually want to read.
So I try not to make a fuss, and I try to fit in the writing time around the rest of my life, you know, writing in the Richard Bausch way, where I am not taking away from my job or my family or the rest of my life.
But with five months down and only seven months to go, I am starting to panic. I woke up on January 1 absolutely terrified in my certainty that I am never going to get it done. How am I going to do this? I have tried getting up early in the morning, but I live in a household where everyone else gets up early, too, and we have a routine, long-established, and I don't want to wreck my life by suddenly blowing up the routine and saying, in a self-important and pretentious and wholly obnoxious manner, "Leave me alone! I must write!"
I have tried writing late at night, to no avail. I fall asleep. (See early mornings, above.)
I have tried writing on my lunch hour, but then I'm at work, on a work computer, and even though it's my lunch hour, I feel guilty, as though I'm stealing time from the company, double-dipping, doing personal work on company time.
I write on the weekends, but weekends are also for doing the laundry, and visiting the aging mothers, and reading some of the thousand books that I got in the mail during the week.
All of this sounds like procrastination, but it's not. It's fear. Fear of wrecking my very pleasant life for something that might not turn out to be worth it in the end.
So Doug and I talked about this. And we decided, not surprisingly, that I need to wreck my life for a little while--that is, I need to write when I write best (mornings) and if it changes our routine, well, it changes our routine. It's only for a few months. We can always get our routine back later--or maybe we'll have figured a new and more appealing one, where I continue to write in the mornings.
So right now it is morning. Today, we blew up our routine. I wrote from about 7 to 8:30, and then we walked the dogs. Now Doug is taking down the Christmas tree and I, steeped in guilt that I am not helping him, am writing. OK, I'm writing a blog entry, but only for a minute or two. Mostly, I am working on Chapter Three, after fully reworking Chapter Two, which I decided was boring.
This isn't forward momentum; Chapter Seven looms, unfinished, as it has since early November. But it's momentum. This is one New Year's resolution I must keep. With Doug's help, I will.