Revising the Novel: Interruption

Don’t get me wrong…five days on the road with Brad with overnights in Hokie alumni households is a pretty freaking great experience (and conveniently, much of the trip can be written off as a business expense). But man-on-man does that length of time away from the desk wreak havoc on routines.

Rockville, Maryland. Who knew?

Here’s the good news: First, as indicated by the above photograph, yes, Brad clearly has Zombie potential. It’s good to know what I’m marrying into, Zombie-potential being high on the list of priorities for lifelong mates. Second, as indicated by my tone of voice–I don’t feel guilty about not working on the novel right before, during, or right after the trip. Which is to say, as much as I missed revising and as much as I hate interrupting my momentum, the fact that I don’t feel guilty means that I’ve finally built enough of my foundation as a novelist-in-progress to trust it will still be there when I come back. There’s no fear of the novel getting ripped out from under me. There’s no worry that I’ve interrupted something so gravely, I can’t get it back. Rejoice!
With a final push through these next four days (yep, still working 10-hour days), I’ll be caught up and ready to deal with my characters Monday morning. And if I’m not caught up? Monday morning is still novel time. No bones about it. The list of things to do between now and Monday morning is long, but I know enough about balance and the writing life now to understand that the list also has to include exercise and unstructured down time if I am to be of any use to my characters. If that means I fall slightly behind on work again, so be it. I’m still meeting my deadlines, so ultimately the only real source of pressure is coming from myself. (What’s new?!)
Onward we go, into fall and into the weekend of work…into my growing obsession with training for a 10K…into my novel and its upcoming muddy middle…deeper into love and deeper into life. Can being busy possibly feel this good? Yes, yes it can. The key? Knowing how to balance the equations. I’m still learning how to be my best boss and, ideally, that means not working on weekends. But I’ve just traveled and I’ve got to be flexible with myself. Work + exercise + play = novel potential. The number of hours spent on 1/3 of that equation is to high right now, but there’s balance in the very near future and–BONUS!–tonight I get to meet with my author friend to swap critiques on our latest work. We’ll discuss her new short story (amazing!) and my newest 34 pages on the novel. Yes, wine will be involved.

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