2008-08-29

I couldn't agree more ...

"In his 1908 essay 'Mathematical Creation,' Poincare insisted that the best way to think about complex problems is to immerse yourself in the problem until you have hit an impasse. Then, when it seems that 'nothing good is accomplished,' you should find a way to distract yourself, 'preferably by going on a walk or a journey'."

-- The New Yorker Magazine, 7.28.08

I tend to go to lunch, a movie, or a pedicure when I need "distractions," though a walk tends to work pretty well, too, and those moments when you're gassing the car and have an aha! moment are pretty common, I find.

2008-08-22

Nesting again ...

The biological urge to nest is um ... well. Of all distractions a writing mother could face, the last months before arrival of a new baby are the worst. All I can / want to think about are:

-- new blinds for the room First Child will be sharing with Two-ie
-- slipcover for the upholstered glider
-- building Two-ie's crib
-- hanging art to reflect the new addition, including getting mats cut to match the existing art that will then be set into photo frames where I want pictures of First and Two-ie to go
-- hanging First Child and Two-ie fabric letters to spell their names across the window
-- going through First's clothes to get things ready for Two-ie, clearing space in the the closet, and the changer
-- getting a new, double unit expandable monitor
-- a toddler table for First Child, and getting her art supplies
-- a new rug for the play room / my office
-- a new, fancy schmancy diaper bag for me ;)

Yeah, I'm obsessed. Getting myself to actually WORK is getting pretty tough around here -- especially since the nesting isn't just in my head, but about to actualize itself in an 18 month reno of our house, and a new deck for the house we own (and are living in) next door to our house ...

That said, I am still managing to get things done, just more slowly.

For instance:

-- NOVEL -- I am halfway through Ch 9. I would really really like to think I can power through a full second draft of the book by DUE day ... but it will be a real push (no pun intended) and is getting less likely every day, honestly.

-- SPEC PILOT -- took my pass at the First Draft today, and think this is in pretty near ready-to-show-trusted-reader shape. Meeting with Writing Partner Monday night to discuss and um, come up with a title ;)

-- BOOK PROPOSAL FOR CLIENT -- finished a Rough First Draft a few weeks ago, and reading it yesterday am actually pretty pleased about the shape it's in. Just a few more hours on that and I think it's good to go ... which then, of course, sets me up to bid and write the SAMPLE CHAPTER ... jeesh.

And of course, if that weren't enough on the plate, what I really want to be working on is my short story collection ;)

But that's for another post.

2008-08-01

Once again, MOTHERHOOD as the antidote to SLOTH

Well, Baby 1 got me to finish Draft 1 of the novel before she arrived in January '07 ...

Baby 2 (who arrives Nov 08) has got me pushing hard towards (1) completing Draft 2 -- I'm in the middle of Chapter 8, which is about halfway through the narrative -- AND, SOMEHOW, got me to (2) agree to write a TV spec with a Writer Friend AND (3) take on a new client, for whom I'm writing a book proposal.

1. THE NOVEL -- I'm writing this draft while semi-con-currently showing chapter drafts to my Writing Group, who are being incredibly helpful. I'm desperately trying to complete this draft before Baby 2, with an eye towards writing Draft 3 in the first part of next year, giving THAT to a larger circle of Trusted Readers, and writing the FINAL DRAFT in the later part of next year ... and sending it out into the world early in 2010. In practical terms, this means I'm writing a minimum of 500 words per weekday, and by October will probably have to up it to a seven-day-week if I really intend to finish before Baby.

2. THE TV SPEC -- Nearly 10 years ago, I met Writer Friend at a dinner, over which we discovered a great love for all television things Bedford Falls. By the end of the meal he was suggesting we write together. For the next nearly 10 years, he continued suggesting that. I assumed he was making said suggestions the same way people say "Let's do lunch" ... but this spring, he handed me the first 18 pages of a pilot he was kicking around, I liked it, we sat down to start writing despite ALL my reservations about writing with other people (short version: I HATE DOING THAT MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE ON EARTH ON EARTH ON EARTH) and it turned out to be ... fun. And surprisingly easy. Since the end of June, meeting for a few hours one night a week, and writing a little bit on our own time, we've managed to come 11 scenes short of a Shitty First Draft. By Monday, we should be actually FINISHED with said Draft, putting us well on our way to having something sort-of-readable by Labor Day. Who knew.

3. THE BOOK PROPOSAL. Well, it had been awhile since I'd taken on clients -- before Baby 1, in fact. And I was approached by someone whom I like, with a project I find interesting, and some part of me, worrying I might never make a cent in my chosen profession again, agreed to take her on. It's been a learning experience, as I'm doing most of the writing, based on discussions and emails with her, and that's a little backwards for me, professionally -- usually, I edit more than write. And like all things of this nature, the further in we get the less simple the project is -- right now, in fact, I'm about halfway done with all the elements but have completed none. However, I'm shooting to have a First Draft of the proposal for her before we decamp for Colorado next week.

All this writing is a) great for my sense of accomplishment and therefore my scale of happiness and b) is making for a crazy-busy summer / ramp up to Baby 2. I haven't had a single moment to do any of the things I did the last time I was pregnant -- get my nails done, get massages, go to yoga, go to afternoon movies -- and I'm tired as tired can be.

All that said, I have discovered by necessity that I can accomplish an extraordinary amount of writing if I carve out 4 hours of working time a day. My basic working routine, in this four hours or so, looks like this:

-- drive to place where I can eat and sit for hours without disturbing staff
-- order a big enough meal to justify my sitting there for hours, and read while I eat
-- order a latte, write 500 words of my novel, then turn to either the TV Spec or the Proposal
-- drive home

Two nights a week, I take additional hours, which were meant to be Yoga Nights but have evolved into Writer Group meeting nights, TV Spec writing nights, or extra writing time ...

On nanny-days, I get a little more time. On no-nanny-days, it's a strict four-hour window, which I've negotiated thusly with Husband:

-- one of us gets 8am - to 12pm to ourselves, one of us gets 12pm - 4 pm.

So far, the system works great, and I'm hoping I can keep to it even after I become Mom of 2 under 2 ...