I’m editing and rewriting a manuscript right now, the sequel to Dancing Priest. The characters are mostly the same but the story moves in a very different direction. I think of it as an ongoing love story – but one engulfed by world events.
I read the manuscript straight through this past weekend, when we took a few days off and spent time at Lake of the Ozarks. We had a large room, with a living room and kitchen, and I read in the early morning hours while my wife slept in.
Like its predecessor, this manuscript reads quickly. It has about the same amount of emotional scenes; a couple of times my wife woke up and wandered into the kitchen area to find me sniffling. (Is it okay to cry when you read your own stories?).
I have a lot on my writing plate right now, this manuscript being the most important and time-consuming. It’s the “big” project of the moment, but not the only one:
And, yes. I do have a full-time job, too.
It seems overwhelming, and it would be overwhelming, except that I’ve made it work together. And I find I’m managing my time better than I ever have before.
In Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity and Writing, L.L. Barkat cites several principles to “cultivate and protect” one’s creative center: have goals; rest on a weekly basis; coose writer friends carefully; choose share-timing wisely ( watch whom you share your writing with, how much you share and at what point you share it); and watch for siphons – those projects and things that will drain time and energy away.
I’ve surprised myself with how closely I’ve been following these guidelines.
Two of the columns I write are about poetry, which I’ve been a lot of for years. Reading poetry is a focusing kind of activity for me.
Blog posts are often extensions of other work – what doesn’t fit in a column for The High calling may become a blog post, for example. I waste what I write very sparingly, and very little is ever useless. I keep a lot of things I don’t use immediately for future use. Not much is subject to the delete button.
A lot of what I do could become siphons, except I’ve focused them in a particular way.
All of these writing activities are helping the main project – the manuscript. Writing a poem helps focus my mind, and has even solved a problematic section in the text more than once.
I haven’t shared the manuscript with anyone yet (“choose share-timing wisely!”), and I won’t until I’m satisfied that it’s ready to be read.
And sometimes I rest. Or play.
At TweetSpeak Poetry, Lyla Lindquist is leading us in a discussion of Rumors of Water. The main discussion will post on Wednesday.