Today my computer issued this warning: "Do not power off or unplug your machine. Installing update 5 of 26."
Yikes! Has it really been that long since my computer updated? Seriously, where have I been? How did it happen that my writing computer has been silent and I have been unproductive for so long? Bad, bad writer
If I were my own employee, I would have placed myself on probationary status by now:
"So...how long has it been since you showed up for work?"
(Cough) "About...four weeks." (squirming)
"Weeks?" Steepled fingers. "I think months."
"Months? Maybe. I guess so. But you know how summers are at my job. Nine hour days in 90 degree heat. With kids. All day." Big sigh. "It really wears me out."
"I'm not as young as I used to be."
"And now chamber choir rehearsals have started up again. We're already singing Christmas music."
"That wasn't part of your job description. Why are you letting it interfere with your duties?"
Silence. Shuffling feet.
"I like singing Christmas music."
"You don't like writing?"
Really long pause.
"I'm thinking." Chewing lower lip and frowning. "I like how I feel when I'm done, when the story really comes together. But it's hard work. And I work hard all day."
"I've been reading a lot of great fiction. You know, um, for research. A writer's gotta know what's out there."
Pen tapping on desk. "I think a plan of action will help you get back on track."
"Do I have to quit singing Christmas music?"
"Not if you can work it into your plan. Where's your day planner?"
"Here." An avalanche of books and papers slides to the rug as I dig out the planner and blow dust from the cover.
"Write this down:
- reorganize your work station so you don't waste time
- set a writing schedule, time of day, days of the week and the month
- set a daily word count
- meet with other writers to stay plugged in and encouraged
- read a good book on writing technique
"That's good, but don't get bogged down. You need to finish your rough draft. What's your word count so far?"
"About 30,000 words."
"That's a great start. Since you have work to catch up on, you should consider putting in some overtime. Go someplace where you won't have distractions if you can. And consider signing up for NaNoWriMo."
I nudge a paper on the floor with my toe.
"What's the matter?"
"I sorta don't like my manuscript anymore. The characters are boring and the story is a snoozer."
"Every writer feels that way at some point. Once you get the rough draft finished, you'll gain momentum and feel like it's worth telling again."
"How do you know?"
"Trust me. I've been there."
I feel better already.
"So, sign the plan of action and I'll place it in your file. You have two months to show significant improvement."
"Wow, you're strict."
"You have no idea."
In two months