Right now, I'm not writing. This isn't a good thing. It's been three or four days since I did anything worthwhile. By sheer force of habit I've kept making notes, revising other things, and so on.
As predicted, it was a bad time for me to receive a new set of notes from my editor a couple of weeks back. Nothing wrong with him doing it, of course. I appreciate it. The book is better for them. I went straight at the notes, blasted through the entire manuscript (backwards, then forwards), and had it delivered back to him by the end of last week.
If circumstances were ideal, I'd have gone straight from that effort to a renewed push on my next novel. Circs are not ideal. So instead, I'm dog-paddling along, hoping to catch a little inspiration in the next couple of days and crank out twenty or thirty pages in a few long, productive sittings. It's very much like surfing: even to have a shot at the best waves, you've got to be out on the water. Much of the time, you will be sitting there watching the horizon.
So I keep sitting down to write, muck around for an hour or two, and then -- having written a couple of lines, or edited something from a previous session -- retreat to doing something else, irritable and surly. It must be a thrill for my wife the television writer, who in addition to putting up with me, also has to spend fourteen hours a day on location while they film her final episode. Then she's out of work, and I'm bitching about self-inflicted projects!
The situation ties back to something I wrote about earlier: one should always have at least two projects going, so if one crashes, you've got another. The problem for me is the current novel is my second project. I don't have another one at the present time. So I've got to make a go of it.
Which leads me to my usual pedantic advice. When I'm truly in a bind like this, I've found the best thing to do is exercise.
I detest exercise for its own sake. Fiddling around with stair machines and weights is about as dull a pastime as can be devised. I'm perfectly happy to do physical labor -- give me an acre of turnips to hoe, or something like that, and I'll do it until my limbs fall off. But moving bits of iron up and down, running in place, pushups -- God help me.
So I'll compromise. The dogs are getting longer walks, for a start. They're well pleased. I'll ride my bicycle around in the evenings as well, a few days a week. That's probably sufficient. The old endorphins start to flow, fossilized lymph nodes get back into action, and the brain goes from despair to delight.
Starting tomorrow. Tonight, I'm feeling sorry for myself.
3 weeks ago