Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Novels and Non-Fiction

 Invariably, I have multiple projects going on, typically a mix of non-fiction proposals and chapter-by-chapter fiction pursuits. Sometimes, this is a good thing.

Other times, it's overwhelming. 

At best, having multiple projects keeps things interesting. Not feeling up to figuring out the conflict in that chapter today? Work on a blog post, an essay, or a portion of a proposal.

Sounds logical, right? Ha. Appearances can be deceiving.

At best, multiple projects guarantee that there's always something to work on, no matter my mood or method. At worst, they're distractors, and I find myself feeling as though wherever I am, it's the wrong place to be. If I'm with these characters, nothing is happening with those characters. If I'm enmeshed in the saga of my created community of people on the page, how will I ever get that proposal or sample finished, let alone get it off my computer and into the hands of someone who can make it into the book I've been dreaming about?

It's a conundrum.

I've tried being practical, assigning different projects to different days, or splitting the day, focusing first on one project, then another. Sometimes, this works. Other times (many times) creative looks at practical and says, "I don't think so. I don't feel like working right now. I think I'll just take a nap."


Other times, it's me who needs to take a nap. The same side of me that creates characters and proposals and concocts storylines and premises also dreams up ways to bring classroom content to life and create reasonable methods of assessment. Consequently, despite my best intentions of sitting down to write after I finish teaching, grading, or planning, some days, there's just not enough brain power left to make that happen.

My practical husband is quick to remind me that I can't do everything. This then awakens all the projects, who band together, demanding to know which of them is getting fired. This, by the way, is the only time the fiction and non-fiction stick together because they know that, loving author that I am, I won't abandon any of them.

How could I?

If I wanted to engage in self-analysis, I could easily make a connection between my love of learning and my desire to do all the things, as my colleague Sarah would say. 

But I don't want to engage in self-analysis. I want to write. I want to put words on the page, turn pages into stories, and find a way to share those stories with the world. 

Luckily, there's no shortage of material because, as I've already established, no one is being fired.

With apologies to Shakespeare:

Novels or non-fiction: that is the question. 

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to create

          New people and new places, 

          Or to take up an idea

          And by sharing it, reach out

         To educate; to entertain....

I guess I should just be grateful my dilemma is nowhere near as serious as Hamlet's.

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