It’s October, 2020. I am still working on my first novel. How is it going, you ask? It’s coming along slowly but surely, the same answer I have given for years.
The different thing, which is a longer answer, and only interesting to writers maybe, is that I can see the slow but sure progress more clearly now, and when I say those words, “Slowly but surely,” I picture the work I have done this year, and the to-do list of work I have yet to complete, and I feel placed on a timeline in a way that I hadn’t before. In March I made a commitment to work on my manuscript every Saturday from 8 AM to 9 AM. One hour a week is a drop in the bucket, but one hour a week for 26 weeks makes a puddle. It will take a very long time at that pace to complete, revise, and prepare for public viewing an entire novel. But before I made this commitment and stuck to it, I was flapping around in a cauldron of words, diving in to a different place every time I sat down to write, with little continuity and a distant connection to my own story. I would say “Slowly but surely,” and feel a sense of directionless despair, even as I smiled and hoped the questioner believed that answer.
If you’re new here, understand that this website started out as a mommy blog, and the mommy part isn’t gone, it’s just different. My tiny babies are now enormous teen boys who only come out of their rooms when they are hungry. One would think that this new arrangement would give me plenty of time to write, and technically it does. However, I chose the one hour on Saturday mornings for two reasons: 1) my mind works best in the mornings, but not too early in the morning and 2) I have weekends off of work.
It’s 8:22 AM as I write this. I am not yet working on my novel because the 13-year-old has resumed baseball practice after a 6-month pandemic-mandated hiatus. This is relevant because now my husband and my child both need me before they leave the house for this baseball practice, so much so that their respect for the boundaries of my writing time has evaporated. I cannot concentrate and stay immersed in my fictitious world when they are continually popping their heads into my office asking me where are my baseball pants did you fill out my COVID-19 questionnaire I don’t have clean shorts have you seen my cleats we are leaving now. No matter how I prepare these people to dress and feed themselves and get out the door on time, these interruptions happen at precisely the time I need peace and quiet.
I also decided I don’t want to get up earlier to complete my work before they leave. The house is gloriously quiet when they are gone, with two thirds of the humans who are not me who live in this house knocking about and breathing the very air that I need to fuel my creativity. The other third is asleep, and therefore harmless.
Stewart just came in here, right up to my face as I am “working” and asked if I’ve seen Brady’s baseball hat anywhere. I wonder if, when Brady is 30, he will still need me to look for random things for him.
Once a mommy blogger, I guess you’re always a mommy blogger.
I think they are actually driving away now. If they don’t turn around and come back and clomp through the house looking for another forgotten item, I will open my manuscript and create another drop to add to the bucket. Ah, Saturday morning.
P.S. As I was setting this post up to publish, they came back and came in and out of the house twice.