Projects on The Back Burner

Me with my mom’s spoon collection

Lately, I have been struggling to write, either on here or work on my manuscript. I even had a military paper I was working on with Team Chief that somehow turned into two professional articles that ended up falling off the rails at the end because I didn’t have the bandwidth to work my part of the argument. We managed to publish the original, shorter, and more narrowly scoped paper yesterday on a professional association blog. I think some people read it. I’ll take that as a win. Yay.

A guarantee of 20 minutes of uninterrupted writing time a day does not mean I can work on my manuscript, for example, because 20 minutes is not an absolute number in terms of writing time. Some projects I can jump into, others need a short warm-up before I can jump in, and one needs a major warm-up before I can jump in. I will now use a running analogy.

In a runner’s world, life cycles around races and race seasons. Training consists of speed days, tempo days, distance days, and easy days. Speed and tempo days require at least a two-mile warm-up. Distance days don’t need warming up so long as the pace is comfortable, and easy days are short and slow by definition. Depending on your mileage goal, speed, tempo, and distance days can take two-three hours. Easy days take less time and less mental energy. All components count and are necessary to a well balanced training regime that will get you where you want to go, without injury.

Writing is like this. Blogging is the “easy day” activity. Other projects like professional papers and novels are the big race performances, broken down into bits that require a warm-up, and 20 minutes isn’t going to cut it. It takes me 15 minutes just to remember where I left off on my big projects! I hate having stuff on the back burner. It frustrates me to start over on things every day with very little forward progress. Until remote school is over, projects requiring a warm-up will have to wait. And I hope they don’t die in the process.