Now, where was I? I suspect it’s the same with you. We’ve got so many things going that it’s difficult to keep up with them all. When one big project comes along—say reading book proofs for a deadline—everything else gets displaced. After a week of intense concentration you emerge from a daze and try to remember where you left off with other projects. What was so dreadfully important before the large project began? I’m used to deadlines at work, but there aren’t too many in my personal life. I have goals and targets, to be sure, but due dates slip and slide with the slings and arrows. When the big project’s done there’s relief, but also a kind of reboot that has to take place. I’m afraid to look at the news.
The corrected proofs of Nightmares with the Bible have been submitted, along with the index, and now all I can do on that front is wait. Which of my many other projects, neglected for an entire week, should I take up now? Part of the difficulty is knowing whether to work on fiction or non. Given my work-life commitments, fiction is easier. I enjoy writing it, but I have trouble getting published. Nonfiction, on the other hand, is simpler to get published but brings in very little remuneration. I know as an editor that we distinguish between academics (who already have a good paying job) and, say, journalists, who write nonfiction trying to earn a living. What about an editor who isn’t paid like an academic, but has a regular job nevertheless? (When talking to an independent, nonfiction publisher a few years back, I heard him respond to the question of if he was non-profit with, “Well, that’s not how I intended it…”)
I have two nonfiction books well along at this point. I also have several fiction projects, including an eighth novel and a short story collection. I also have some essays underway for sites beyond my own blog. A week seems like a long time to put all these things aside and then to pick them up again. That week wasn’t vacation either. Nor did it suggest topics for me to address on my blog because if you want to know about Nightmares with the Bible you’ll read the book. The evening I finished the proofs I had a dream that seemed to stretch through the entire night that I had come up with a complete college curriculum all by myself. As much as my weary mind wanted to go on to other things it was fixated at that stage. I awoke to wonder where I’d left off on real life projects, none of which are very near the finish line. Now, where was I?