After a few weeks of running as fast as I could just to stay in the same place, I think I may have caught up with myself now. This weekend is so far free of things to do and of hideous coughing fits – touch wood. I’ve got off to a good start this morning, paradoxically, by writing ‘The End’ firmly after the last sentence of my novella ‘Adventure at the National Exhibition’. I’m not entirely sure it’s quite at an end, in the sense that I don’t think I’ve quite said all I intended to say, but it’s definitely on hold for the moment while I prepare for Camp NaNoWriMo.
As usual preparing for Camp NaNo isn’t quite as simple as it seems. Not only have I not done as much advance research as I meant to do into Coronation year (1953) but over the weekend I have to write a chairperson’s speech for an AGM that is happening on Monday, and which could turn out to be quite fraught for various reasons, and as an additional self-imposed task I thought I would write a short factual piece about the National Exhibition of 1908 for a competition – I like the idea of being able to recycle the novella research into a different format. Of course I’ve also got the paper for Finland in the back of my mind, and over the past few days I’ve become aware of something else lurking in there like a faint shadow. It’s the pale spectre of ‘Pitkirtly VIII’, which will be the next in my main mystery series – not due to be started until at least July.
What I’ve discovered with multi-tasking is that it’s all right to think about lots of things at once and even to do some of them more or less simultaneously, but you’ve got to decide what stage you’re at with each of them and which one to focus on at any time. If there are real deadlines in the real world, that helps a lot. I know I would put off my chairperson’s speech indefinitely if I didn’t have to have something to say on Monday. Fortunately I also know from experience it won’t take more than an hour or two to write once I sit down and concentrate on it. In the case of the conference paper, there will be a lot of elapsed time involved as I try out various ideas and search for images and video to go with the text, so I’ve started it in good time to allow for this but it’s something I dabble in for a little while every day. Mulling over ideas for the future happens almost without me even trying to do it, or in some cases even knowing I’m doing it, and can be done while driving, while asleep (not both at the same time) or while doing the washing-up or recycling.