O Me of Little Faith

I am at the writing stage right now where the “being a writer” part is not that attractive. Pocket Guide to Sainthood is finished and the manuscript has been turned in to the publisher (no doubt, several rounds of edits will follow, but it’s still good to check one big project off the list).

Now I have to write the next book in the series: Pocket Guide to the Afterlife. As you might expect, it’s a look at the beliefs of most of the main world religions about death and what they think happens in the Great Beyond. And this is where I start to get intimidated and procrastinate-y. I’m researching and reading and learning about samsara and moksa and the Babylonian moon god Sin and all these unfamiliar religious concepts which I need to become an expert about, and I’d pretty much rather sit down at night and watch another episode of Battlestar Galactica on DVD. But thanks to some self-imposed deadlines, I probably need to get a couple of hours of writing/researching in.

This is where things like discipline become important for a writer. When you’ve spent a few days or weeks not writing, and recuperating, and resting after having finished a project. When you’ve got a steep learning curve ahead of you. When you’re looking at a blank page — or 160 blank pages — and thinking about all the different and exciting ways you could spend, oh, the next hour in procrastination. I better update my blog! I should start doing research for my upcoming fantasy baseball draft (newsflash: dork)! I wonder if anyone’s updated my Wikipedia entry over the past two years?

This is the time — when procrastination and productivity are wrestling with each other and you’re not sure which one you want to win — that the writing life just isn’t that glamorous or exciting. In fact, it’s kind of a drag. But you have to get over it, and yourself, and start putting some sentences together.

So don’t cry for me, Argentina. I get to write fun books about interesting stuff that I personally want to write about. The books have my name on them and everything. And people actually pay me money to write them, and then other people pay money to read them. That’s good news all the way around.

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