Stop Means Go

I’ve been quiet for some days. It’s because I’ve been madly trying to reach this writing deadline, now about a week away, and then tackle multiple deadlines after that. I won’t go into detail yet again about how I screwed myself by saying yes to too many things. I’m boring even myself. This is just hard. Writing on assignment is hard in general and then with my day job on top of it, it can feel that much harder. I’m more tired than I’ve ever been, but I can’t be tired, I don’t have the time to be tired, and where is the sense in that? But also, having the day job makes it easier to write. It gives me motivation, perspective. No matter how hard it is to write a paragraph on assignment most days it’s always, always better than the day job, and this is something I didn’t know about myself. Not that I can afford to quit and freelance full-time, but it’s nice to know where your heart lies. Sometimes I can’t find it and then when I am writing I think: Oh, here it is. This is what I want. I like to be reminded.

Now I have something to strive for that’s perhaps more attainable than the fantastical book deal / uber-agent in the sky. I’ve always been a hard worker. I don’t think it’s my fate to get the big windfall and sit around basking in the spotlight for years on end. I hate bright lights. And, besides, I can’t sit still. You should have seen me in the staff meeting at work this week. I fidgeted once every thirty seconds, and I’m supposed to set a good example. I was worse than a five-year-old. So, yes, that means I’m antsy, but it also means I’m raring to go.

Speaking of going, I need to finish this chapter. It’s my self-imposed deadline of the day. All that stands between me and it is one scene. A long scene with quite a few beats, but one scene nonetheless. (Truth be told, I decided to combine two scenes into one.) It’s 3:08 pm, Sunday afternoon. I want to eat lunch. I want to lie on the couch and read a magazine straight through to the end. I want to see what’s on TV.

I want to stop working on this chapter, but I’m not yet allowing myself to do it. Let’s see how long I can hold out. If I fidget one more time in this chair, I might break it. I need to sit still, focus, and GO.

I have this strange philosophy in which I am convinced that all this hard work will be worth it. Someday, I will know why I did it. Someday. Don’t ask me what convinced me. It’s one of those blind beliefs that cause so much trouble in the world. No matter what happens (another rejection in the mail, for example) I just can’t think that it’s over. There’s a connection, I think, some kind of tenuous connection between all this freelance ghostwriting and my real writing, the unpublished pages in the box. I’m working this hard right now for a reason, I tell myself. But what reason? I ask right back. I can’t answer that question yet. I don’t have time.


  1. I really admire your discipline and I am firmly of the camp that believes that kind of “go straight at it” attitude and determination DOES pay off–and the reason you work so hard will present itself in time (but I sympathise with the waiting). I will try not to add a “dammit” to that to reinforce my conviction but it’s really what I believe.

    Good luck & I hope you get through your deadlines all right without too much stress (impossible, I know, but I can still hope!).

  2. Like Courtney, I admire that you’re pushing on with this. Sometimes, it’s just enough to grit your teeth and keep going. Inspired, I’m picking myself up off the side of the road, and trying to get going too. Best, BL

  3. Thank you both so much.

    Right now I’m so tired I want to go back to bed… but NO! I won’t let myself. I think when this is done I will be able to sleep a full week straight.

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