All the extra stuff that goes into writing

Hello friends! Was feeling like procrastinating so I was like, why not do something about that online journal I’ve been writing for the past…thirteen years. Yes, since August of 2008–thirteen years.

Have been feeling lazy and unaccomplished this year, even though by any rational standard I have done a lot! I finished listening to the Bible, I read Chaucer and the Canterbury tales in Middle English, I’ve made considerable progress in studying old english–have now started seriously studying up on the articles and pronouns, and afterwards will bone up on noun declensions before tackling that bugbear: verb conjugation. I thought for a while I could skip all this stuff simply by learning what all the words meant, and I do think focusing on vocabulary initially was a good idea, but I’ve reached a point where I really do need to learn the difference between he, heo, hit, and him.

I’ve also written stories, essays, poems, and complete drafts of two novels (one a revision and the other an all-new first draft). I’m getting ready to turn in my YA novel to my editor, and this novel didn’t even exist a year ago! I came up with the idea, so far as I can remember, sometime last December. My fortunes truly have turned around tremendously in the course of one year.

But the thing about having a child and having full-time childcare is you just feel a little inadequate. So many people have MANY children–they have no or little childcare–they have financial troubles. There are people out in the world doing a lot more than I am, and doing it with less.

So I’ve been feeling a little lost. Wondering if I’m making the best use of my time and my life. Like today, it wasn’t until about 9:45 that I really sat down to work. Then I ended up practicing my Anglo-Saxon–mostly as a way of procrastinating. I’ve been listening to a romance novel: a woman on a podcast recommended Tessa Dare, and I’ve been finding her books quite comforting. So I practiced articles and pronouns and listened to this novel.

And the thing is, I do believe this is writing-related activity. I’m certain of it. Nothing has influenced my writing more this year than reading Chaucer–it’s given me an entirely different sense of rhythm and of sound–and that’s the sort of thing that it’s easy to not do if you start thinking of writing–of the typing of words–as your job. When you’ve already been published, everything in your life, everything in the world, pushes against you, trying to stop you from growing. It’s very hard to keep that focus on, just, getting better and learning new things.

The thing about learning is it’s a little messy. I mean, this is true of writing in general–most of it looks like nothing. But you do a little bit each day, without really know what’s going on or what you’re doing, and, very, very, very slowly, it starts to come together.