I've been working a bit at a time on my book proposal.
Then, I finally realized last night that the reason I've been so unproductive in general is that I am stuck on the book proposal, and so long as I am staring at it trying to make it work, I am not doing other work. Other work that could be easier to accomplish. Shorter work. Articles. Completion. Little rewards that I need, the Scooby Snacks that charge me up and give me the power to complete the more ambitious projects.
In pop psych terms, I finally gave myself "permission" to quit agonizing and move on to work on other things.
Which felt great.
Until I woke up this morning and realized that in my book proposal as it stands, I completely forgot to include the most important theme. The entire point of the book! My intention was for it to be about uncertainty in mid-life, about the reality of looking down the fortieth decade without a partner, a plan, or kids. About the harsher side of living a glamorous, globetrotting life of adventure. About what happens once you stand still for a few minutes. About the "Um, now what" moment, where the easiest answer is to just keep moving, to fill every waking hour to avoid the harder questions about identity and displacement. If I'm busy, I won't notice that I'm glossing over the tough issues. Nothing hurts if you hurry. Questions aren't answered, much less asked when there's no time to dwell or wallow.
If only real life were a bit more like Indiana Jones. He woke up one day and discovered he had NOT overlooked the important things in life.
But I'm guessing I'd have noticed if I had spawned a teenager.
I'll need to go back to the book proposal and start over. How could I have forgotten the entire point of the book?
It's harder than it looks, this writing thing.