Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Nose to the Grindstone
As I have probably mentioned before, I have written/contributed to two network engineering books. One was published two days after 9/11 and the other was published the following October. Since then, my technical writing talents have only been used on the job site to write PR material or SOPs or user manuals. Boring but it pays well.
Now I have created another writing opportunity for myself: a series of books based on the software I work on for my employer. Thus, I'm working with one of the muckety-mucks to create the book proposal. I present the latest iteration of the proposal; he tears it apart. You know the drill. I feel like I've gotten nowhere in 6 months.
There's a bigger problem, though -- Me! I know that deep down, my heart isn't in this. I'd rather be writing on my own projects, but am I doing that? Not so much. I'm distracted, tired, and scattered instead of focused, motivated, and joyful about writing. Now I'm even conflicted about going to grad school. Even though I found the perfect online MFA/Creative Writing program, I'm conflicted. I have very little time now. What makes me think I have the discipline to buckle down again for another 3 years or so of school? I think that once I got started, I would love it, but the problem is getting started.
I actually tried to sit down last night and work on some more of the outlines for the books in the proposal. I allowed myself to get sidetracked as I was doing my research. I read a few blogs, responded to some comments. Eventually I signed on to my machine at the office and did a couple of hours of work on a special project I have going. I told myself that if I didn't do that, I wouldn't be finished by COB Thursday. The entire evening - gone. My outline consisted of 4 new major bullet points (with some sub-bullets).
I really wanted to throw it all out the window and write a poem. I wanted to write a couple of pages on my novel. I worry that I will always be a person of great starts and no finishes. This has got to stop.
So today, I'm making a resolution. I have to sit down for an hour each night to work on my own personal writing. At least an hour. If it goes beyond that, great? And then I can devote some time to the book proposal. Yes, it will be hard and will take time away from other things I want to be doing (watching TV, reading new blogs), but writing requires discipline.
When I was writing the engineering books, I would lock myself into my library each evening after dinner and would just work. I cranked the first book out in 8 months. After that I started college and wrote my 3-chapter contribution to the second book during my first semester of college. It took me 5 years, but I completed my degree. I wrote the first books while the kids were both still in school. I have far more time now, but urgh! I can't seem to kick myself in the butt enough to get going.
Discipline. I've got to find it within myself again. And I've got to put my nose to the grindstone. It's important for my family's bottom line for me to do this book series (could pay off student loans) and it's important for me to prove that yes, I can still do this thing called writing.
And now I'm off to earn my keep at work. Peace - D