Friday, December 19, 2008

Coping With Setbacks to Finishing a Book

Some of you may remember my excitement, back around May, at successfully negotiating a part-time schedule at work so that I could invest more hours in the blog and in revising my manuscript.

Unfortunately it has not worked out so well, and now I must resume full-time hours much earlier than planned. In the five months at part-time I did get, I've also not made nearly the amount of progress I'd hoped for. Though my work hours were reduced, the workload actually increased, and I was getting closer and closer to my full-time hours with each passing month. Not knowing when I was going to get out of work on any given day was frustrating and stressful, making what hours I did have for writing less than inspired.

I'm disappointed, a little angry, but also relieved at having made the decision to go back. For a while there I was beating up on myself for progressing so slowly, but now I can see it was not a lack of discipline or willpower on my part, it's that the circumstances were not conducive to a calm and consistent writing schedule.

It was a noble effort, if I do say so myself --- but I guess now was not meant to be my time to be a fiction writer for more than 10 hours per week. Sucks. But what can you do?

I must admit this is completely consistent with my experience up to this point. As I've said even recently, some writers thrive on goal-setting and self-imposed deadlines, but it's just not my bag, baby. So I cringe and repeat my mantra: It has a life of it's own. It will get done in its own time.

But I must also be pragmatic, which unfortunately means cutting hours somewhere. To keep progress on the book steady I think I'll have to reduce my investment in the blog. My goal will now be to post 1-2 times per week, and will probably spend a lot less time promoting (which wasn't yielding much extra attention anyway).

Except today, when I will post twice, because we've got a snowstorm brewing and there's nothing much else to do --- also this post is kind of a downer.


Amanda said...

Thank your lucky stars that in this day and age you have the luxury of going back to your full time hours at work. Over here another two long standing high street names have sunk in the recession, or is it a depression?

Monica said...

It must be frustrating for you, James. But you do have to trust the process. Just don't give up. I need to read the rest of the chapters, you hooked me after the first one.
(of course, if the added pressure causes you to shut down, then.. ignore that, and ... i guess i dont give a crap if you finish or not? does that work for you?)...whatever works for you, James.

Ashley said...

I have to echo what the previous posters have said: please don't get too discouraged or give up!!! If only for the sake of your now-addicted readership. You've already come so far doing things "the tough way," you can't quit at this stage!

Idea for your next novel: a brutally scathing satire of the frustrations of the modern American workplace!

TheRunawayPen said...

How about this....
The fact that you work AND write is amazing! You write with passion and conviction and we only gain that kind of depth through experience,and those experiences may only be gleaned from adversity and hardship. So, pat yourself on the back and keep going because you have definintely got what it takes to suceed in whatever you do. :)