Friday, December 19, 2008

'Tis the Friday Before Christmas

by Chester Campbell

‘Tis the Friday before Christmas,
and all through the place,
not a writer is stirring,
not even to save face.
The laptop screen is blank,
the ash tray overflowing,
but the only thing at work
is the Christmas tree’s glowing.

Call it holiday malaise, or Yuletide lethargy. I have an idea for my next Greg McKenzie mystery, but I have yet to write the first word. I’m plagued with an inability to switch from promoter mode to writer mode. With a new book coming out in April, I’ve been courting reviewers, looking for signing opportunities, searching out other ways to promote.

I suppose my real problem is difficulty in allocating my time. Some people think retirement is just a bunch of leisure. I’ve even heard talk about fears of boredom. Those folks would get disabused of those notions if they came around my house. Besides frequent trips to the grocery, Wal-Mart, Office Depot or the post office, there’s hauling and picking up grandson at school or Taekwondo. Plus volunteer jobs like delivering Meals on Wheels and folding newsletters at church. Not to mention the inevitable visits to doctors or dentists for my wife or myself.

Between all that running around, I manage to scoot up to my office for occasional snippets of time during mornings, afternoons and evenings. And while on the computer, there are all those listserve messages beckoning with their highlighted displays.

It’s a wonder I get as much done as I do. I’m envious of authors who regularly work on their novels for four-to-six-hour stretches. And there are those like my friend Tim Hallinan who flies off to Bangkok and Phnom Penh to write. I have too many family responsibilities to afford that luxury (plus I’d probably have a hard time surviving that life at my age).

I’ve never done New Year’s resolutions, but maybe that’s my solution. I’ll allot certain days and certain time blocks for writing and others for promotion. But what to do about all those email lists? Ay, there’s the rub. The Bard was lucky he didn’t have Internet.


Jean Henry Mead said...

I hear you, Chester. I've hardly written a word for Died Laughing, the third novel in my Logan & Cafferty series since I started planning my recent blog tour. And now Christmas is upon us. Thank goodness the new year is nearly here and a fresh start.

BTW, I love your Christmas poem.

Chester Campbell said...

Thanks, Jean. I think I'll try to follow inclinations next week and block out my time a bit better.

Dana Fredsti said...

Chester, I'm in the same boat with my next mystery... I try to limit the email lists and other distractions, but it's NOT easy. And thank you for giving me inspiration for my post tomorrow!