If Chapter After Chapter (a book I’ve been reading) has a major flaw it is the author’s assumption that if writing a book is really important to you, it should consume your life, your thoughts, all your creative energy.
This is how you will be able to write a book.
She says that those who think you can fit writing a book around the edges of a full life either have never tried or are very good at compartmentalizing.
I don’t think I’m that great at compartmentalizing (in fact, I think this is what makes me an imaginative writer), but my whole life, it seems, I’ve always loved doing more than one thing.
As a result I’ve always been bouncing from one love to another, eager to visit the next thing but always expecting to return, and (this is the important part) preparing before I leave for that return.
My best example of this is of my quilting or beading. Each of my projects (I have several in each “genre”) is at a different stage, and if the mood struck me (ouch!) I could walk across the hall and pick any one of them up with nothing more than a flat clear surface.
Setting aside for the moment that flat surfaces rarely remain clear in my home, this is how I organize. I still don’t have a system for keeping my home clean (working on that) but I have a system to indulge the way I know my creativity works.
Because of this stretch of work, I can now sit down in those spare half-hours when all three kids are playing nicely (and I’m ignoring those un-clear flat surfaces) to do whichever type of writing I’m interested in at that moment.
And the neat thing is that this one project is big enough that (at least for now) I can conclude/revise/create from scratch some section, all without starting something new.
This was my habit with quilts. I have 4 or 5 at various stages of completion.
In my own defense I also have a good half-dozen I’ve finished.
I am far too sensible (or, at least, have too many loves) to allow writing this book to consume the majority of my time, but the book is important enough to me that I do keep writing, in the “edges” I can find.
So… is this compartmentalizing?