Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A New Beginning

Summers around here are tough on this writer.  Everyone is home from school--and since hubby is a teacher, that means him, too--schedules are disrupted (teenagers sleep REALLY late), and there are more people in my office area at one time than at any time during the course of a school year.  Although I try mightily to stick to my usual routine--get up, feed animals, walk 5 miles, write, work, etc.--I can't get as much done as I would like. So with the wheels totally off the proverbial bus (my routine), I struggle to keep the narrative of my story going (mine and the book I'm working on) while dealing with the demands of a house filled to the brim.

Go to the library to write, you say?  If only.  Like my needy West Highland Terrier and assertive Maine Coon, I am a creature of habit.  I write at my desk, in my attic, taking the occasional break to look out the window at the woods beyond my house.  That's how it works.  The library is probably cool, quiet, and filled with other people trying to achieve some kind of educational or work-related goal but I know myself:  I would be looking up at the circulation desk every time someone checked out a book or asked a question.  Here in the attic, my only views are my seldom-used exercise bike (I know!  I need to ride it more!) and the litter box (which sees more action than my exercise bike).

Go to a coffee shop?  See paragraph 3.  Replace the circulation desk with a counter and you'll see why that's not a great option either.

So, this summer, instead of banging my head against a wall about my lack of progress on my work-in-progress, I decided to put the book in a sort of time-out, to not put a great deal of pressure on myself if I didn't write 5000 words a week or flesh out that character who needed more of a backstory.  As a result, when I did get to write, it felt virtuous and productive.  By focusing on what I could do--instead of what I wasn't doing--I felt less guilty, got more accomplished and did a whole lot less fretting.

January is less of a new beginning for me than September.  September brings routine and order and yes, homework, but it also brings me back to the attic, where I create the characters that I love to create and the murder and mayhem that seems to be part of the DNA of my imagination.

Maggie Barbieri


  1. I used to be only able to work at my desk, too, Maggie, but I had some things--physical health and house problems--happen which forced me to write in other places. Now, I can write just about anywhere if I'm not responsible for the clatter going on. It's come in handy more than once.

    Good for you in keeping the pressure and stress low, though. Not surprised that you got more done when not under all that.

  2. I'm with you on the magic of September. Despite heralding the fall and winter, it always feels like a new beginning of energy, activity, and getting things done. I hope to see the product of your efforts soon :)


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