Monday, March 8, 2010


I have prided myself in putting in solid writing days six days a week. Pot of coffee on, an early morning dog walk and then it’s time to write. Midday exercise break, an email check over lunch, more writing. The self-discipline has been surprising but I only need remind myself that this year of writing is both an opportunity and a luxury.

And now, in a moment of truth/guilt, I must ask: Where did my routine go? Three weeks ago, I fell off the writing wagon. The Olympics sucked me in. How could I not stop everything to marvel at k.d. lang’s “Hallelujah”, Alexandre Bilodeau’s gold medal run, the elegance of Virtue & Moir, the grit of Jon Montgomery on the skeleton, the speed and stamina of Charles Hamelin and Clara Hughes and the bring-it-home performances of the men and women in hockey?

As much as I enjoyed the entire two-week run, I was relieved to see it end, knowing that I could awaken Monday morning, coffee on, and pound away on the laptop. And then, half an hour into a solid beginning, the phone rang. I was summoned to the school board office for four days of marking provincial tests for students in grades four and seven, a much needed bank account booster and a wonderful experience to dive back into the minds of children, but another setback in restoring my writing gig.

Oh, I tried. I came home each day and wrote. Just not as much as I’d hoped—and I found myself doing smaller writing tasks instead of killing off a beloved character in my novel. Going back to work, albeit temporarily, reminded me how difficult it is to have the fresh energy and thinking to log in significant writing time. My writing life has been a solitary endeavor and it seems that the added social component in a more customary work environment may have been the biggest factor in my feeling drained as soon as I returned home. It wasn’t just the writing that suffered; I couldn’t drag myself to the gym either. Naps, snacking and mindless television ruled the evenings.

Yesterday’s Oscars provided another excuse to shorten my writing block. In truth, it had been a day of struggle even before the insipid red carpet interviews began. (How aggravating was it to see a host ask a starlet a question and then pull the mic away when she went beyond the two-word response limit? And why did I seem to care about Rachel McAdams’ dress?) Frankly, my 5K Sunday swim was more exhausting than usual, a final Olympic legacy as I passed on the pool last week to catch the gold medal hockey game. (Thank goodness, the end result was the right result!)

And now, it seems that all is clear. No more excuses, no more getting sidetracked. I have the first draft of a manuscript that I expect to finish this week and I’m itching to get moving on several other projects. Absence makes that heart grow fonder? Oh, let’s hope!

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