Thursday, February 19, 2009

No, No and No

Well, I see again that I have let my blog posting languish. This is partly out of embarrassment, partly out of mental exhaustion.

No, I did not turn in the manuscript on the February 9, deadline, now some 10 days ago (really? Can it really already be 10 days? Alas...)

No, I did not turn in the 38 chapters of manuscript on the adjusted deadline of February 11. I turned in 34.

I did, however, assure my editor that I was confident that I would finish the manuscript by Mar 1. Ha. I am a slow learner. God has a plan here, and I don't have a clue what it is, but it sure doesn't seem to be "Help Karen meet her deadline." (I think it's something more along the lines of "Give Karen the opportunity to trust Me no matter what happens.") The very day after I turned in the 34 chapters, I went into blank mind mode. I could call it writer's block, but I don't think it is. Any more than the first 8 months of a pregnancy are "mother's block." Or maybe "baby's block". When the oranges are tiny and green early in the season is that "orange tree block"? No it's just a normal function of growth.

I have learned that in the cycle of cell division, by far the longest period of time is spent resting. Or at least, not dividing. Instead it is preparing to divide as it carries out its normal cellular functions, growing in size, reading its DNA, doing whatever it's supposed to be doing in the body. The time it actually spends in division is very brief.

So it is with me. In the creative process, I do spend more time thinking or even just being blank and trying to think than I do writing. Two days of nothing, trying to write, trying to think, trying to make something come, put two thoughts together, find the next portion... getting nowhere, getting distracted, getting frustrated and anxious when it starts to go on too long (although how I would know what "too long" is, is beyond me.). And then after all that, the next thing I know I find myself writing something, words are coming together to make sentences, I start seeing how the various elements can fit, this one here, that one there, this other one next... Sometimes within an hour it's all come out. But I can't force it. I have to wait for it.

So that's the process, and I'm getting used to it, and I know that I don't know what God's plan for my life looks like and that I have to accept His timing without complaint, frustration, anxiety... But...I wasn't expecting to have any more of those periods when I turned in the 34 chapters. So it was quite dismaying to promptly run into a 3-day incubation period. Then, having resolved that, to run into a 2 day incubation...

Right now, a week and a day after turning in the first portion of the manuscript I've got two chapters done and three close to done. And looking at what I have left, which is chaotic and incoherent (the living-color results of what happens when I just sit down and force myself to write) I suspect there are going to be a few more simmer periods before all that is done.

So, No, I no longer have confidence I will finish this thing by Mar 1. I have given up trying to predict. It will be done when God has decreed it to be done, and that's all I can do.