This has been the summer for dealing with ancillary stuff.
As always, my primary goal in the summer is to get some writing done. I have two–make that three–writing projects I am still hoping to work on this summer. But other obligations always seem to get in the way.
I have to start off by explaining that in addition to teaching classes as a full professor I moonlight writing for the marketing department at the school. Most of the time it is no big deal. But on occasion, it gets pretty busy. And because my classes aren’t all that full, they also asked me to serve as webmaster. So sometimes I can be pretty occupied.
First it was the university’s magazine that I edit. Normally it is cleared right before graduation and printed in mid-May. I just got done giving it final clearance so it can be printed–six weeks late.
Then it was the school’s new website. I had my portion of the new site relatively complete back in November. When I didn’t hear from IT by February, I asked what was going on. They told me it was put on low priority. So I said, OK, and moved on to other things. Suddenly, two weeks ago it became high priority again. Sigh.
Yesterday I was given a series of 12-14 brochures to write by the Enrollment Department. Deadline? They want them in the mail by Sept. 1. Fortunately I write fast, but it does put other things on hold.
But it’s all good–or at least I keep telling myself that. I still haven’t figured out the nuts and bolts of my three writing projects. Just some vague moody stuff. And I need to decide which one to tackle first.
In addition, I know that even if I don’t get to write as much I would like on my novels this summer, not only am I helping out the university with my contribution, but every word that I write is helping me hone my craft. I remind students of this every time they write–and rewrite–a news story, or a short story, or a novel.
Beyond that, even if it rejected, they are not wasting their time. That’s the nice thing about writing. There’s no wasting time. There’s just time better spent. Thinking about your novel and mowing the lawn is not wasting time. In fact, I would suspect more than 60 percent of the time I spend on a novel is before I put any words on paper.
The biggest challenge for me is just getting my brain free from other obligations. I am so thankful for 40 years of newswriting, because it helps me write very fast. But I find as I get older that it takes more quiet for me to be able to concentrate. Mornings for me are ideal for writing.
But the bottom line is, it will get done. Sooner or later.
It’s all good.