The last two days I’ve been nibbled to death by ducks, seriously eyed by the alligators that were in the swamp I drained or, as Notorious Ph.D. succinctly phrases it, Overcome by Events.
Some of it good, mind you. Our faculty union voted yesterday and ratified a three year contract. The New York Times is blogging about our next project, Star Wars and History.
Still, time flies and boy, does it! Since my sabbatical’s over, I submitted my annual report, updated CV, teaching dossier (for the first term) and copies of my publication. I’m acting chair so I’m in the office daily, advising a few students and ensuring no emergencies arise as happened last summer with the Great Flood.
With all of this, I mostly have had to deal with Real LifeTM (i.e. the kids, the pets, the house, the bills, the cat hair). I’ve not been seated for more than fifteen minutes (and that’s the bare minimum of time I need to get going on writing, even with a trail of notes accompanied by an extensive outline).
My writing’s and editing’s been confined to snatched moments of research reading and email correspondence for two days. Plus, I have an evening commitment that’ll keep me from getting any real work done tonight (hence, pecking out this blog post in the five minutes I have, here and there, between laundry loads and other Events).
So much for Write Early, Write Often? No way!
I’m miffed that I’ve lost a few days of writing, let’s be honest, but rather than sulking or snarking, I’m considering Tuesday and Wednesday in the form of my writing weekend. I wrote daily for the previous six days. I can afford a few days off. Besides, angst doesn’t get words on the (virtual) page or pay the bills!
So, tomorrow morning’s already been blocked off. No email, errands or appointments until I sit down and write the next section of the current chapter. I’m collating a pile of reference books so they’ll be handy for when tomorrow’s writing time starts. My writing time ends at middday, when I’ll need to take autistic youngest to get a filling and, looking at the rest of the day’s schedule, that’s it for writing time until seven unless the filling is accomplished quickly and easily.
Even then, I’m not abandoning all those hours to the gods of entropy. I have five interlibrary loan books I need to consult for the current project. Taking one of those and a stack of post-it notes, maybe even the ereader or the netbook, means that if I’m stuck sitting somewhere I can pull out the book and make the notes I need. Research is another vital part of the writing process, so it’s a constructive use of those stolen minutes.
How do you push your project ahead when your daily schedule resembles a jigsaw puzzle more than anything else?