Getting away to it all

This has been my least productive year as a fiction writer since I learned to hold a pencil. So far, anyhow. Since January I have been so busy with everything but writing that I occasionally forget that it is, as Sue Goyette frequently points out to me, my true work.

Instead of writing I have been running, and writing about running. And I have been struggling to learn to play the piano well enough to play it in front of a bunch of strangers at a recital in June. And I have been editing a book for a publisher on the South Shore, one that’s taken up a lot of my time, but has been an edifying project for a variety of reasons–though it has taken me MONTHS more to finish it than I thought it would. And I have been mentoring a young writer through the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia. Again, satisfying work to be engaged in, but it all takes time from my true work. And I also wrote an essay for a McGraw-Hill Ryerson e-text-book for use in high school English classes. Which I was definitely not going to turn down. Even though it meant several hundred more words written that had nothing to do with Evan and Lansing and Dacey.

Who are, by the way, finally all together in one place. I got them all together and then abandoned them to work on these other things.

This may not be coincidental. In the past, I have stopped short at important places in whatever I’m writing, usually to give myself time to figure out what the hell is going to happen next.

I’ll find out this weekend. The Common is taking its show on the road, travelling to Tatamagouche tomorrow night. We’ll spend a few days in a beach house in River John, writing and hanging out, and on Friday night, we’ll read en masse at Fables. We are very excited about this! We’ve never done an event together before.

As for me, I love these retreats. Generally, I get a tonne of work done. Last fall, when we went to Windhorse Farm for a couple of days, I managed about five thousand words. If you think your manuscript overall is going to be around eighty or ninety thousand words, five thousand is a pretty significant chunk. So I’ll be hoping to get much, much deeper into my story this time.

And when I get back to Halifax I’ll be working as hard as I can to land the plane on all those other projects so that I can get back to my true work without needing to leave town to do it!


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