East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

A forced vacation

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Somebody said once that writers never take time off – you’re in the queue at the supermarket, and you’re mentally working on something… ruminating a plot point, stealing a snippet of eavesdropped conversation for recycling in your work in progress, considering what chances are for your next submission.
A vacation – that in my case might mean, sitting in the shade in my courtyard, with a bowl of ice cream and a good book – is not different – that good book I’d be reading? It’s still part of the learning process, still a source of ideas, or a sample of someone’s writing I admire, and I’d like to be able to emulate.
When you make a living writing, your brain never lets up.

And yet…

Yesterday my current client for a huge ghostwriting job I am absolutely hating (but hey, it pays, right?) decided that my “overly sophisticated style” somehow “blunts the pathos of my raw narrative”, and therefore stopped me working on the second (and hopefully final) draft of his novel, and started working on a massive edit that basically brings back the work to day one. Until he’s finished, I’m on vacation.

Which really means my tightly-packed schedule has once again been thrown in disarray by this job – because I live by writing, I need to keep submissions going, and this means keep writing and posting my stories around. I need to “make time” for writing, revising, mailing, pining about the answer when it will come…
The moment a job that was supposed to take four months, working 4 hours a day 5 days a week, turns into a seven months full-time, 24/7 nightmare, everything else goes haywire.

But also learning to reschedule and re-organize on the fly turns out to be a life skill, and so I spent the first “idle day” of my unplanned vacation, yesterday, to

  • go for a supply run
  • record and publish an episode of the podcast I’m doing with my friend Lucy
  • reschedule the short works I was planning to do these days

The idea is to be able to submit three stories within two weeks – I’ve set my sights on high-profile, well-respected and professionally-paying markets.
Also, I’m absolutely dying to do a short for a charity anthology.

This is why I’m suddenly blinking on and off on the blog.
But rest assured – as soon as I’ve two of those three stories halfway-ready, my Client from Hell will certainly decide he can’t bother to go on editing the first draft, and drop the half-baked thing back in my yard, thus once again wreaking havoc on my day-to-day routines.

And then they say writing is a stay-at-home, easy-peasy, stress-free job.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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