The title for this blog entry is the opening lyric to the 1981 Queen and David Bowie song Under Pressure. As you read on you will understand.
In mid-May I committed myself to finishing the draft of the first book of my trilogy. My goal was to have 300 to 400 pages done by the end of June. In my previous blog entry, I even gave myself a four-day additional window to achieve it. Although Alida Winternheimer, my writing coach, advised that my schedule was ambitious, I thought I could achieve it.
I really did not understand how much pressure I was putting myself under. The first inclination occurred over lunch with a friend, Dan Lowenson. He asked how the novel was coming. After I told him my focus and deadlines, he looked at me and stated, “You seem very uptight”. I was surprised by his comment because I did not initially believe it. It did not hit home until my wife reaffirmed my condition.
I then paused, and came to the realization I had focused on my goal to the exclusion of everything else including my health. I was going to power through it come hell or high water. As Julia Roberts stated in Pretty Woman, “Big Mistake!” So I reassessed. Slowed down and took a break from writing. Stepping away, my disposition totally changed. By mid-June, I began to write again. Not every day, but just when I had time. My priorities shifted away from the novel. This was a good thing!
Alida completely supported my change in focus and toward the end of the month we met. At that time I had completed a little over 100 pages. Our discussion revolved around how my story and characters had developed. She really liked my direction and reaffirmed that I was making good progress. I also told her how difficult it was to write in the voice of one of my characters, the microbe, which is very abstract. She read a few of my “microbe” chapters and commented on how well I had done. Alida, of course, had some edits and advice on how to make them even better upon my rewrite.
So I am back on track both mentally and emotionally. For me this has been so far a fantastic journey and learning experience. At its end, I hope to look back at all my successes and failures and realize that it was well worth the effort.