Deadlines and More Deadlines

I’ve been away from this blog for a while. But just a few minutes ago, I looked at the site stats and realized that this will be my 301st blog post. And that since I created it, this blog has received over 70,000 hits. I know, there are people who receive that number each day. But I’m so pleased with how this blog has done. After all, I created it in the midst of turmoil, and kept it up during one of the most tumultuous years of my life. Through finishing my dissertation and writing my first book (which will come out in January).

I’m still in the midst of the tumult, preparing for the dissertation defense. But soon that will be over as well.

And then I’ll have a series of deadlines. My Folkroots column will be due, and I have a couple of short stories that I owe people. And it looks as though I’ll be working on a poetry collection, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Honestly, I’m not sure my poetry is good enough to merit a collection, but other people seem to think it is, and I guess I’ll leave that decision up to them. And I need to get back to the novel.

You remember the novel, right? The YA novel from the YA novel challenge. I never finished it, of course. Instead, I finished the dissertation, and that made sense at the time. The dissertation had to be completed. But there’s more to the story than that. I learned something important this summer, while trying to finish the novel. It’s that I can’t write someone else’s novel. I have to write my own. I’m not sure, now, if the idea I had for the novel really works. I’m not sure it’s me, the way I write. I’m not sure it’s the story I want to tell. And I’m not sure what to do about that. Start over? Maybe.

I have a feeling that I won’t be able to work on the novel at all until I get some of the other projects I have out of the way – until I meet some of my deadlines. I certainly won’t be able to work on it, or anything else, until after the defense. I have a feeling, or at least a hope, that once I’m finished with the defense, it will come to me. That the novel I’m supposed to write will start forming in my head. That’s the way it usually happens, at least with stories.

So I have a column, stories, poems for the collection, and a novel to write. Honestly, I’ll be glad to get back to it. I need writing, and I haven’t been doing any of it lately, and that’s not good for me.

Right now, it’s deadlines all the way. But at least the projects I’m working on are ones I care about, ones that I think matter. Which is important because in the midst of turmoil, it gives me a feeling of purpose.

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