Shortly after I got Family Blood up, I knew there would be a Family Ghosts, but I thought that I was going to write a screenplay first. I found I could only work on Family Ghosts. I started that and wrote two chapters. That's about when the overtime kicked in.
It started right around Christmas. I did work extra hours that week, and then it was six weeks of fifty or more hours per week, and then there was still a little bit of overtime but it was tapering off.
I was not making any progress with writing. Mainly, I was just really tired. I know I mentioned the tiredness in the blog, but I started to think about how I really wanted to take some time off, and this idea began to take shape.
I wanted to take a week off to just be creative. If I were a professional screenwriter, or other kind of writer, and could focus on that, what would my life look like?
I have gone through times of being more or less disciplined with my writing. When I was unemployed I wrote a lot, but there was also a lot of job hunting going on, and the fear and worry may have hampered some things. I had vacation time saved up, so that would remove the worrying aspects. The idea burned in me and I started to long for it.
I tried to be strategic about requesting the time off. I wanted it to be after the rush. If I had the week off after working a 50-hour week, I would just sleep. I didn't want it to be the week of President's Day, because holiday weeks are restorative in their own way. The most likely option seemed to be the week before, but the Friday of that week would be my sisters' birthday, and I was afraid they would take the day off and be around. I wanted it to be as normal a week as possible. My sisters assured me they were working that day, so I scheduled February 9th through 13th. It did not go as planned.
The first wave of sickness started working its way through the house the weekend before. (I say first because there seems to be a second one going through.) Julie came down with it first. She was home Tuesday and Wednesday. She made her way back to the office just in time for Maria to get sick. Maria stayed home Friday. Then, as I finished up my long weekend and started back at work, I got sick.
I don't want to complain too much about the disruption. It was much worse for them being sick on their birthday week. They had to cancel a lot of plans and it was pretty miserable for them. They did cramp my style and eat into my time somewhat, but I still had some time. The rest of it was me.
I had really ambitious dreams. I imagined writing three chapters a day, and in between writing sessions I would draw comics, and practice my bass, and read. I would daily give special one-on-one attention to all three pets (which was going to include bathing) and my mother, and get some home projects done too.
I did no pruning, and have still not completed this evaluation that I have been meaning to do. I did read some. I only practiced my bass once. I did not draw anything. I did not exercise as much as I meant to. I did spend time with Dellie, Maeve, Cody and Mom, but various specific goals were not met, and Dellie still needs a bath.
And I only wrote one chapter a day. I often do that on a work day!
I knew on one level that I would not do all of the things, but I thought I would do more and it turned out that all I could really hack was the writing. I went from multiple false starts on Chapter 3 to Chapter 12. That was good, I just wanted to do more.
The family crowding and oncoming illness may have played some part, but also I really underestimate how long it takes to do things. This novel especially is slower going, which I will write more about tomorrow.
The week was not everything that I dreamed it would be. I am not Wonder Woman; I am merely woman. That is disappointing.
It was also not a total loss. I was able to recalibrate. The extra work hours had really slowed me down, and taken me out of my writing groove. The vacation gave me time to get back in. There was progress, and progress continues to be made.
I have had doubts in the past about whether life as a professional creator would be too unstructured, and I would have a had time being productive. I have been productive under some pretty horrible circumstances since then, so I was pretty sure that would be okay, but it was nice to test it out and get confirmation.
It also probably helped prepare me for the understanding that some other things need to be put on hold for now, with priority going to the writing. (Sunday's post has more detail on that.) That works too.
I would still like to see what the magical week would look like, but this was okay too.