Spinning My Wheels

by | Jun 8, 2007 | Pedagogy, The Great American Desert, The Joys of Publishing

It is now five days, I see, since my last entry. I’d like to say that that’s because I’ve been hard at work on the new novel, but the truth is that I’ve been distracted by another assignment. The good news is that I may have an agent for Desert. I’ve been sending it out recently, as I’ve come to the conclusion that in order to keep writing long-term I need to get published by the guys in skyscrapers after all. And an agent seems to be interested. The bad news (at least for the short-term) is that now I have to produce a book proposal for submission to publishers. It’s not even that daunting a prospect. It’s just that I have trouble starting (and completing) assignments that I haven’t chosen myself.

Part of this goes back to third grade, when I decided that in order to make things more interesting I would stop doing homework. I would get done whatever I could during class, and as for the rest, well somehow or other I managed to slide through. Teachers have so many kids to keep track of, so why should they raise a stink about one who did well on all the tests?

This system actually worked pretty well (from my point of view anyway) until Algebra 2, where suddenly I found myself in a land in which I had to work, and even so fell further and further behind. Which explains why I took one more semester of math (Trigonometry) before abandoning that world for good. Unfortunately, I continued to apply my system, which (again, from my point of view) had a lot of advantages. No books to carry home. Lots of time for extra-curricular activities, which by this time were mostly literature and girls.

College was an awakening of sorts, but not an especially rude one. College, as far as I was concerned, was the reward for putting up with all those years of public education. Although I had to learn, and in a hurry, things like how to study and how to write a paper, I did pretty well as long as you don’t count the semester of Latin and the English History course that I dropped rather than crank out an actual research paper.

Had I been better prepared, could I have gotten more out of those four years? Absolutely.

The result of too many years of sliding by without doing my homework? Lack of discipline. Laziness.

So for the past week I’ve been spinning my wheels, grasping at any distraction rather than complete this assignment. I’m outstanding at the art of self-distraction.

But I do need to get this done. And until it is done, it’s going to be on my mind. Which is keeping me from doing more interesting work. And the new novel really is becoming interesting, too. The characters have been running a most merry little race which will soon culminate in the climax at the end of part one. It won’t be the easiest thing to get down on paper, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. Everything is in place, and I’ll get started on it as soon as this cursed book proposal is done. Which will be by this time tomorrow.