Monday, November 26, 2012

Tunnel Vision

My Thanksgiving vacation was glorious. I had four days off work, and I only left the house once the entire time - and that was only for an hour or so to get groceries! That is a successful vacation in my book.

Of course, it wasn't all relaxing and reading and eating (speaking of, I need to go to the gym tonight...). I am currently working on the next article for America in WWII magazine. And, as any good historian does, I have managed to gather a massive amount of research. I remember a museum curator told me once, "The historian with the most stuff wins." If my research methods are any indication (read: lots and lots of paperwork), I could probably win the gold medal.

However, all of this stuff has to be filtered into a 2500-3000 word article. I wrestled with it all weekend long, and finally ended up with a rough draft last night. I didn't sigh in relief, though, because the hard work awaits - i.e. editing.

During the weekend, my family tried to engage me in conversation. My husband asked whether or not I wanted Christmas decorations in the front yard. My mom wanted some advice. My daughter tried explaining a new game she found.

I heard what they were saying, but I don't think I processed any of it.

Instead, my head was jam-packed with how I was going to write this article. I was mentally shifting paragraphs, deleting others, making notes on what I needed to add and subtract. I ate a little too much apple pie, and my back hurt from sitting too long. Tunnel vision at its finest.

Sometimes I think too much. My husband says I live inside my head a lot, and that is why he doesn't mind that the house isn't spotless. I am, in his words, an intellectual. That's a label I'll take any day. Indeed, I often forget to clean, and only after I emerge from my fog do I realize I need to scrub the floor or clean the bathroom sink. It's a good thing I have an understanding husband who helps me do laundry and dishes and can also cook better than I can.

Of course, all of this focus on the article has made it impossible to focus on the novel. That's how it should be as the article needs my full attention at this point. I'm not one of those that can work on two intellectually-demanding projects at a time. My brain would pop.

Onward!



15 comments:

  1. Best of luck with the article and in getting back to the novel after.
    I'm actually considering a WWII story for my next WIP...an idea in progress at the moment!

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    1. Whoo!!! I hope you do! It's such a fascinating era. I will never tired of researching it because there is SO MUCH out there on it. Good luck!

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  2. I so relate to the 'living inside my head'. There is just so much going on in there for us writers. I often get to the end of the day feeling like I've achieved so much, but nothing has been done around the house! Luckily, like you, I have an understanding and capable husband. Aren't they treasures?
    I hope the article behaves when you get to the edits!

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    1. Thanks, J.T. It's starting to shape up after I deleted a bunch of very unnecessary words. Thank goodness for editing! And we are very blessed to have understanding husbands. =D

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  3. Oh my goodness I love your husband! I actually got some cleaning done yesterday while pacing during my football game; I was too anxious to sit down, heh heh!

    Like you, I think I live in my head. I also read the comments of articles to get a better sense of the news; just so many inane comments make me cranky.

    I love the new blog look! Sounds like you had a lovely weekend, wonderful. :)))

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    1. Loved the weekend - I need a four-day weekend about once a month. :)

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  4. Writers have to live in our heads or we couldn't think it all through!

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  5. I have days like that, but I disappear more when I'm reading. My husband likes to say that the monster booklore is back whenever I get into a book.

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    1. I can do that when I'm reading, too. It's wonderful to be able to escape the world through a book.

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  6. I can't work on two projects simultaneously either. And I'm just like you... it's either house or writing, and writing almost always wins. I think it's a tad bit of OCD... once I'm in a zone, I have a hard time coming out of it.

    I love the line The historian with the most stuff wins!! So true!!

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    1. Right now I'm trying to downshift back into "novel mode" and get out of "nonfiction" mode. Slowly starting to come together, but I wish my brain could separate things out better than this!

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  7. Melissa, I'm so thrilled you are doing another article for America in WWII! It's already a great magazine, but the fact that you are writing for it regularly is like a double helping of hot fudge on my ice cream!

    Keep up the good work, my dear!!

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    1. Awww, thanks so much, Valerie! You're so sweet!

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