Self-discipline can be the highest form of pure self-indulgence. At least when it comes to managing multiple projects in writing. Today I had a twelve-hour creative bout that illustrates this truth.
I'm exhausted, I can tell you. From my blissed-out expression you might assume quite naturally that I'd been doing something else. But I was playing Beat the Clock, balancing three different projects--reveling in each of them and then moving brutally on.
#1: Continuing the marathon first draft of the third Boss MacTavin novel. Since November 5, I've drafted at least 500 words every day. The temptation now, in the home stretch, is to drop everything else and devote every hour of my time to getting the ending on paper. But no--and no for a good reason. Why's that? Because when I've reached my word quota, and when I stop at a critical point, I shut the door on the boiler...and let the pressure build all night. When the next day comes I'm all fired up to go. I also stoke my confidence by sticking to my schedule. Though some can go faster, I'm well aware, each day my faith grows with my pride: I'm getting it done on my timeline.
#2: Typing up what I've drafted so far. I should have started this months ago. To get caught up and avoid a massive typing chore, I need to type a minimum of 5 pages a day. Or in 40 days 200 pages. Tiring work but here's the kick: If I stay on track with both #1 and #2, I'll have the new book drafted and typed by about the end of February--leaving me 6 or 7 months to rewrite and fine-tune for a fall release. The payoff there is very sweet.
#3: While all this is going on, I need to completely rewrite and retype my next ebook--because it isn't on flashdrive. It's on disc somewhere, I know. But rather than frantically searching, I'm retyping for the chance to go at this thing freshly, as a new work of art and not just a backlist title. To stay on schedule, I need to rewrite and type at least 7 pages a day. Neatly. Spell-checked. Ready for my formatter.
The self-discipline part is obvious. The self-indulgence part required a cartoon lightbulb. But, luckily, I realized: I don't 'gotta' do this stuff--man, I get to do it! And I'm glad I do. So don't be alarmed by my curious smile. I haven't stumbled off the set of an adult film. I've just been playing Beat the Clock.