Today ended a 34-day stretch that I’ve been literally dreading all year. Since February 28, I have spent 14 days on trips that required either an overnight stay, at least four hours of round-trip highway driving, a flight, or some combination of these. While three of those days were personal trips (attending a special family event at my sister’s place near Schenectady, taking my son to visit a law school, etc.), 11 of them were for business. Two of the trips were to Long Island, approximately a five-hour drive one-way. The stretch wrapped up with a three-day trip to northern Kentucky. I flew to and from Cincinnati, arriving home this morning.
Put simply, I’m tired. I know a lot of people travel more than that, but I’m not used to it. My duties back in my office don’t pause while I’m on the road (though I do get badly needed help, especially from my manager,) so I’m writing press releases and answering research requests in the morning and teaching four-hour classes in the afternoon. Or I’m giving a speech in the evening, answering emails in my hotel room that night, then giving the same speech in another city the next morning. Or answering research requests from the airport Thursday and during breaks in my meeting yesterday.
I know this probably sounds like whining to those of you accustomed to working 60 hour weeks. Sorry. March’s schedule has left me with little time or energy to write either fiction or non-fiction. I completely blew my self-imposed deadline for finishing the ghost hunter novel by February 28, and I didn’t make up much lost time in March. This is frustrating, to say the least. On top of that, I’ve done next to nothing extra for Lent, which is supposed to be a time of spiritual re-dedication, so I need to focus on that. I am also working on a personal self-improvement program in fits and starts in the hope of making some badly needed changes to myself. In short, I feel like I’m juggling a lot of balls, and all these days spent bonding with the New York State Thruway have had me juggling with both hands only occasionally free.
I’m rewarding myself with a couple of days off next week, and I plan to spend some of that time getting back on the writing bandwagon, among other things. I may take a break from the novel to try a short story. It might be helpful to step away from the novel for something different, and I’d still like to have something new to podcast before the end of the Parsec eligibility period. It’s shameless, I know, but I want to have something to enter, even if it doesn’t become a finalist. You can’t compete if you don’t enter, and if I don’t try to compete, I won’t know how I compare to my peers. The Parsec competition may be a very imperfect indicator of my path as a writer, but it’s a handy one, so I want to be in it.
So with no more travel on the horizon until late May, I expect myself to be a more productive writer, spend more time and energy improving my spiritual life, and dedicating myself to becoming a better person. I badly need to do all three. Now that I’ve publicly said this, I’ll feel obligated to give a progress report in 30 days. Stay tuned.