about writing and life and God

Last day of the holidays?

on January 9, 2013

I’m not going to be able to put it off much longer.

My editor, bless her, appears to have accepted the manuscript I emailed through on 31st December. We seem to have agreed on a title and a cover design. So, until the queries come through from the copy-editor, that one’s finished.

And surely 9 days is enough recovery time for a short non-fiction book which was half-written already?

Time, pretty much, to bite the bullet and decide what to do next.

I’ve taken the boxes of Christmas decorations back up to the loft and the dining room is almost tidy again. But every morning at breakfast I face onto the shelf of reference books and the box of background material and the 35,000 words I have written on the novel. That other WIP.

Digital Image

It is not waving at me in any kind of undignified manner. But that subtle, internal discomfort is beginning to build. The one that only goes away when you get back to work. And I’m thinking maybe it’s time.

I wouldn’t say I was commitment averse. I’ve been married often enough to disprove that. In fact one might think the opposite – too ready to leap and commit. But I do hesitate when it comes to writing.

Because it is all-consuming. You sit down at the keyboard and before you know it, you’re lost – caught up in that other place with those other people who are more real to you than anyone else (including  the cats – sorry, cats!). And pulling yourself out of the trance at the end of each session and returning to the mundane world of cooking lunch and doing the laundry and remembering to go grocery shopping (so the cats don’t starve – or take to bringing in furry offerings as unsubtle hints) forces you to live a double life which non-writers simply do not understand.

That telephone call or ring on the doorbell. Well you weren’t doing anything, were you? And you stand there shaking your head and trying to work out where you are, and when they’ve gone, trying to work out where you were.

Can I face it again? That total surrender with no guarantees. No guarantee of publication (unless I get bolshy and self-publish it on Kindle), no guarantee that anyone will want to read it. No guarantee (is this the really scary one?) that it will be any good? That I’ll even be able to finish it?

It is so easy to duck our calling when we let the doubts creep in. So much safer to remain unchallenged. So much more peaceful simply to read other people’s books instead of opening a vein and writing our own.

But it won’t do, will it? And that’s why we are writers. Why we do this often thankless, so very invisible task. Because life is simply so much better when we do. Because we are more ourselves. More the people we are called to be.

Ducking the writing is ducking ourselves.

It won’t do.

So tomorrow? Is tomorrow the last day of the holidays?




4 responses to “Last day of the holidays?

  1. Dorothy – you have me to a tee at the moment. And I have some of your queries answered. Yes I DO have possibilities – though no promise of course – of publication. I do have people urging me on to get on with it.I DO have a sense of God have put two projects onto my heart. And yet …still I hesitate. Do I really want to have that ‘due date’ hounding me again. Can I ‘be doing with’ [to use a Yorkshire expression] the discipline, the sense of having made a committment, do I REALLY need to write anything else ever again? And if I don’t is it disobedience – or just a choice made? Are there other … better uses of my time at this stage in my life? Sounds horribly ungrateful I know – but how does an author know when it’s time to retire?

    • Marion, I was with you right up to the second-last bit. Yes, yes, to it all except “retire” . I think as long as God has work for us to do, there’s no retirement for us – which means we still have to decide is writing the work we’re still called to do.

  2. scskillman says:

    I totally identify with what you’ve written in this post,Dorothy. My latest novel is with a consultant editor, and I know I must now start writing the next one. Today I was researching, but I won’t be happy until I’ve actually started writing it. It is exactly as you say – ducking the writing is ducking ourselves – and today is the last day of the holidays!

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