Sunday, June 15, 2008


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.


Marie Javins said...

Here I go to try to start my car.

My car hates rain. It doesn't start in the rain.

I had it on the street last night when a ferocious thunderstorm kicked in.

This should be fun.

Joe Helfrich said...

Well realizing that you'd left out the entire point of the book does explain why you were having so much trouble with the proposal in the first place. Apparently you had to step back from it a bit to see that.

Maybe now it will come out easier.

Chip said...

hahaha! That sounds like the creative process to me. Just when you give yourself permission to move on your figure out what has been stopping you all along!

I write this as I read your blog procrastinating on my next project!



Marie Javins said...

Ha ha ha, Chip, hey, I'm glad you get it. Part of the creative process is agonizing and procrastinating.

Just wish I weren't so damn good at it.

(You might wanna be CM around these parts, man. Don't say I didn't warn you.)

Anonymous said...

I find, though, that the back burners of the brain do keep working on the stuff I procrastinate on. And then I'll be doing something brainless (usually either driving a familiar road or taking a long shower) and I'll have an "aha!" moment when I find the solution.

Your creative process may, of course, work differently.

Marie Javins said...

No, that's exactly how it works for me. I do my best work while sleeping.

Linda said...

I get ideas while washing dishes or walking the dog. So... don't use a dishwasher and get a dog!