….you are never not thinking about your current project, at least somewhere in the dim recesses of your mind.
When working on a novel or screenplay or other long project, you are always, always, always, aware that any free time could best be spent by working on it. You are constantly aware that everything in life is a trade-off. Want to relax and watch a movie? You’re trading that time for a scene that could be written. Want to go to Happy Hour with friends? You could write a whole character description in that time.
Now, don’t get me wrong–writers have to get out in the world and be a part of it, or they don’t have anything to write about. My point is that when you are deep into a project it is always hanging over your head. It is like the old tomato juice commercial, in which the tag line is, "Gee, I should have had a V-8."
My refrain is, "Gee, I should have been writing."
I am keenly aware of this, because on this so-beautiful-it-hurts autumn morning, it is no longer a part of my psyche. Quite by accident, I finished a draft of my novel yesterday. And, now suddenly, I feel free.
As I’m planning my day, I’m realizing I may even have time to clean my office. That’s because I don’t have to make the choice–work on my novel or clean the office? When you’re working on a novel, there’s always that choice–get some exercise or work on the novel? Read a book or work on the novel?
And only in its absence do I realize what a strong pull that is. It is the strong pull of creativity. Thank you God I have it, because at least for me, life without it is all dull tans and greys.
I’m going to revel in the absence of that strong pull for a few days. That is, until I start the next draft, which will be the final one, next week. It is a very strange feeling not to have that strong pull towards working on the novel. I know I’ll start to miss it, because, in truth I can’t imagine living life without some commitment to a larger whole. I much prefer to live my life in riotous color.