Serial Monogamy and the Not-So-Single Writer

I'm coming clean with you, dear readers. I've been tempted lately to stray. To cheat on the manuscript to which I've sworn fidelity (if only for a the time being.)

I just can't help myself. Main Squeeze Manuscript wants waaay too much attention, while over in the shadowed corner, the Sexy Diversion crosses manly arms (oh, how I love the look of a firm bicep) and casts a smoldering look my way.

Discipline, I tell myself, yet I'm continually distracted by the low rumble of whisper, a spicy, masculine scent... and the fact that he's had the waitress bring an extra fork with his strawberry-covered cheesecake. (Forget the beefcake, baby! It's cheesecake all the way!)

The trouble is, I'm committed elsewhere, to a swell story I owe every crumb of my attention. Even when -- no, let's make that especially when the going gets touch. Though I might occasionally lust in my heart after that tabled project or scintillating new idea, only a monogamous relationship will allow me to be the kind of author I can respect.

Fortunately, even the toughest projects come to an end, or go on hiatus, so serial monogamy does the trick quick nicely. So long as I give over my full attention to each story in turn and keep working, I can feel content and virtuous, knowing there's a new love just over the horizon.

And if he knows what's good for him, he won't have eaten that last bite of cheesecake by the time I get there, either.

Comments

Suzan Harden said…
LOL If I didn't know better, I'd think you were talking to me. But hey, I finished my meat and potatoes (legal column for next issue of magazine), so now I want my cheesecake. (Key Lime, please!)
Good for you, Suzan!

I didn't know you were writing legal columns. Great practice for bigger deadlines! :)
Mylène said…
I wake up every morning thinking: So many hunks, so little time!
Joni Rodgers said…
Yes. And I have the same feeling about reading more than one book at a time.
Tragically, I'm a total floozy when it comes to reading. I'm always reading one on my Kindle, one in print, and greedily on the make for the next. It's pitiful, and lessens my commitment to any one story.
I'm the same way, Colleen, at least I am now. Even when I was working on short stories, I found it difficult to work on more than one at a time. Sometimes I had to--arbitrary semester deadlines--but I always felt like I was cheating my current story to go back and revise another. And although I bounced from plays to stories to literary analyses, it was always easier for me to draft one at a time. I envy my friends who had multiple drafts going; frankly, they boggle my mind. I tend to hyperfocus on just one thing--am a good switch-tasker but probably the worst multi-tasker there is.

And then I started this novel--and I have NOT ALLOWED myself to think beyond it. I just can't. There is a possibility that what I am writing is actually the 2nd book in a group of books that will be stand alone parts of an intergenerational Gothic saga (Lord help me), but right now I am putting all the rest of that out of my mind. I also have another idea for what could be a great YA novel, and am starting to dream scenes of it, but again, NO! It's got to stay away! I have to see this one through, even if it's to the bitter and dirty end. ;)
Sometimes, Kathryn, I'll start an ideas file for a new project and jot down a few notes for later, just so I won't forget. That seems to give me permission to go back and focus on the subject at hand.

Best of luck!
Oh, and books, yes. If I am really into a book, I won't read anything else (unless I have to for teaching). But right now I have three different books of Gothic short stories (they all came the SAME day--and I had a stack of student papers to read!), and I am being very promiscuous with them. Although I am about to boot Roald Dahl because of his incredibly sexist introduction to the collection HE edited. Stay tuned, because THAT is definitely going to be a blog post!
Heh, I am lucky so far in that I can keep the ideas in my head (it's one of the few natural strengths). If I dream it, I will remember it, and if I dream it repeatedly, it will haunt me whether I write it down or not. But yeah, that's good advice for others, and what I tell my students, too. And as I age, I fear I will get more and more that way, although right now it's my poor short-term memory that is deteriorating. :(

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