Mini-Unofficial-Summer Sabbatical & Other Attempts to Finish What I've Started

I managed to work on my verse play every day of last week, so something is going right. On Tuesday I created a schedule wherein I outlined the parts of Act I that I will revise or create in order to have a complete, working draft that I can submit to the Southampton Theatre Festival in early June; the schedule itself had to be drastically revised on Sunday when I discovered I'd taken nearly six days to revise one scene.

I am not a fast writer nor a prolific one. I'm trying to come to terms with this. Even when I have more time than usual, like I do right now, while the older kids are in school still but I'm not teaching classes, I can write at a snail's pace. It doesn't mean I'm not working -- in fact, I believe I've spent more hours writing over the past week than I have, collectively, over the past year -- but much of the working consists of trying lines, words, whole stanzas and then scratching them out and starting over . . . or staring at the page as I rehearse the lines in my head. It's . . . not exciting, to say the least.
I don't know why I need three notebooks to write. I just do.

It feels really rewarding, though, even though I can't exactly see the rewards in terms of complete pages. I just feel better being actively engaged in my play, in my work, and I'm fairly satisfied that I've kept distractions at a minimum. I deactivated my effbook account last week when I realized I use it far too much like a crutch . . . Can't find the right word? Let's check Facebook! Can't figure out how to resolve this scene? Let's check Facebook! Stupid, I know -- and pretty good indication that I have, like, zero self-control or self-discipline. I realized that if I'm already a slow writer, it certainly won't help to lose myself for 15 minutes to 1/2 hour increments in social media a couple of times a day.

I've felt less pressure, too, being MIA from the effbook: I was a member of two (or maybe three?) different writers groups on there and it was -- in hindsight -- stress-inducing to see people posting constantly about submissions and acceptances and publishing. I'm sure it felt worse than it actually was, but it did make me wonder: if everyone's constantly submitting, when are they writing?

Not that I want to spend all of this post now focusing on effbook -- but it DID connect me with a lot of interesting writers and supportive peers, so it's not all bad. It's just bad when it's constant. So -- at some point I'm guessing I'll return, but for now I'm breathing more easily and feeling glad that I'm better able to focus on working.

All in all, my absence from this one piece of social media (albeit a really distracting piece), coupled with my ability to spend several hours a day working on my writing, feels a little like a mini-sabbatical. Which is an awesome feeling, since I won't be officially eligible to go on sabbatical until 2018. (Boo.)

Mini-unofficial-summer sabbatical has also given me more time to read. Currently, I'm reading Aracelis Girmay's The Black Maria -- it's really moving and beautiful; her writing evokes in me a deep admiration and awe and also a little despair. It's not exactly envy, but it does have to do with someone else's work making me feel or acknowledge my limits and capabilities as a writer. I know I'm a very different kind of writer than she is -- but I wish, sometimes, I had some of her lyrical grace. It's a kind of wistfulness, I suppose.

And now I'm going to leave the blog so that I can go back to working on my play. I have one more scene to revise (or really, start over completely, as I discovered this morning), and then three whole scenes to create from scratch . . . now that I've decided Act I needs to go in a completely different direction than the one I created in 2014's draft.

That's right. 2014. I've been working on this thing forever -- and I know that most (smart) people would read that as a sign to move on, that perhaps this isn't clicking and so maybe I should just give up . . . but I'm really fucking stubborn. Like, really fucking stubborn.

Comments

Elizabeth said…
Always good to see I'm not the only one counting down to the next sabbatical!

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