The 50,000 Pound Pencil; Resentment

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Now comes the hard part.

It’s writing time. I took a break for a few days, and I’m finding it hard to get started today.

I don’t think of myself as a natural procrastinator, but some days I just don’t feel like it. The pencils feel like they weigh 50,000 pounds.

Also, with my kids home from school all summer, it is easy to use that as my excuse not to write. They do keep things busy around here.

Young capitalists learning a trade. A useful distraction from writing.

Young capitalists learning a trade. A useful distraction from writing.

It is OK to take off on occasion.

It is like working out. An athlete needs to rest in between significant workout sessions. A writer needs to recharge the vocabulary/creativity batteries.

When I was working on my dissertation, I took off three months before I wrote the final draft. All of the research was done, but I was sick and tired of thinking about my topic days on end. I wasn’t getting anywhere anymore, the words weren’t coming, and (worse), I was resenting the research.

A break is good, and I get why you take a break. But stepping back scares the hell out of me. Here’s why.

I had two friends going through the same PhD program with me who became tired of their research, and so put it down for a few months … never to pick it up again. Basically, they procrastinated their way out of the degree. You have a time limit to earn a Ph.D. at most universities.  At my institution, the limit is eight years from the moment you start the coursework.

So, that’s the fear I have about stepping away from Emmett’s book for longer than a few weeks. When I start to feel resentful towards the work, I’ve gotten to where I step away for a day or so. (Resentment is also one of my drinking triggers; I make a point to get to a few extra meetings when I feel the resentment creep coming over me.)

Talking about it to trusted colleagues helps keep you on a schedule; talking about it to you all via the blog keeps me on track, believe it or not.

Almost like what you get at an AA meeting.

And…I keep coming back.

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