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Coming Up For Air

Updated: Apr 15

My wife and I used to describe the end of August as being like “packing for a transarctic submarine voyage” because of the way the school year would pull us out of our lives until we came up for air the following June. I’ve just finished writing a novel (my second, although it will probably be the first one published) and it feels a little bit the same way.

I had this idea when I retired from teaching that my life would become a serene balance of putting words to paper, tinkering with power tools in my workshop, and visiting the gym three times a week. I found out very quickly how hard it is to organize unstructured time. I came up with an elegant schedule and was no good at all at keeping to it.

The problem is, if I pick up a task, I fall into the pattern of working on it until it’s done. And if the task is writing a novel, then years go by when everything else in my life—even everything else a writer must do—falls by the wayside. Completed short stories have sat in a drawer unsubmitted, my website has languished, my blog has been silent.

But the novel’s done!

OK, yes, I have the beginnings of another one already underway. But before I get too deep into it, maybe I can pause long enough to get the rest of my desk in order.

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