I’m working on my MFA thesis, which happens to be a novel. This is not a slight task and it is not an assignment to be taken lightly. No, there is nothing dainty about writing a book. It is probably the largest and most challenging project I have ever taken on. I have no problem with small accomplishments that require a day or sixteen of my time. Moving, finding the courage to quit your job and start a new one, climbing a fourteen thousand foot mountain – these are all small things compared to writing a book.
It’s not that I don’t think that writing is fun. (Too many negatives in that sentence. I think that writing is fun.) I’m not saying that it’s a bundle of joy all the time, but I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t get something out of it. And the problem isn’t that I don’t think I can handle it. It’s a huge task, but I know that I can do it.
One problem is procrastination. There are always other things to do. I can’t write if the house is dirty. I can’t write if there are dishes to be done. I can’t write if laundry needs to be folded. I can’t write if the bed is not made. So I spend a lot of my free time cleaning and I never quite get around to the writing.
But that has to stop. Now. Now.
Procrastination is no excuse, not outside of high school and science fair projects. I am a grown up. (Or at least everyone around me seems to think so. I have a different opinion.) At this point in my life, balancing my time and prioritizing my chores and responsibilities should be under control. The sentence, “I haven’t finished my novel because the laundry needed tending,” is unacceptable.
But is that all that’s going on? Is that what is actually preventing me from finishing my Mediocre American Novel?
No, there’s something larger going on. It’s the fact that I’m writing a novel. The word alone is too grand to put my arms around. How does anyone go from writing 20 page short stories to a 200 page novel? I haven’t a clue. And I’m probably doing a piss-poor job at my first attempt.
But I’m doing it. And that’s what counts.
Back to work.