I’ve never had so much trouble writing a book before. Depletion and Abundance was hard, but it was so thrilling that someone wanted me to write a book that I could barely see straight from excitement. A Nation of Farmers was a project I had been passionate about for a long time, and the collaboration with Aaron was truly inspiring. Independence Days seemed like such a logical next step – help people who got the basic idea of needing to eat better do it year-round. I did three books in two years, and by the end of the marathon I was exhausted. And then came the idea of doing a book on Adapting-In-Place, and Finding-Your-Place – helping people figure out how to get set up to live a lower energy life. It seemed so logical.
And it still does, but I admit, I’m struggling with this one. Maybe because our original plan was for Aaron and I to collaborate again, or maybe because I’m just tired of the computer, but I came very close to returning the advance a month or so ago – admitting to Eric that I simply don’t want to be writing a book right now, that I’ve burned out a bit, and that I want to concentrate on the farm. I feel petty whining about my good fortune – I’ve been tremendously lucky, and lucky enough to have an editor and a publisher that believe in me, and are excited about this book. Lots of people have to do much worse work than I do – there’s no excuse for me to complain.
Moreover, I know this meets a real need. That is, we really do need to figure out how to live, how to go forward. My dream was that this book would talk about both the necessity of doing so, but also the pleasures, would draw people to what I see as a delight – the chance to drain your cup dry, to get more from fewer resources and enjoy the art of making a good life from not so much. I want to want to write this book.
But it isn’t working very well for me, and I’m not sure why. I need some way of getting excited and fully engaged by this – but I haven’t come upon it. Either that, or it is going to be one long, cranky 10 weeks.
The best I’ve got so far is to simply point out to myself that if I returned the advance (it is already far too late for this, they are already publicizing the book), I would have to give up the farm plans that the advance will pay for. I’ve already got a line on a Great Pyrenees guardian dog for our farm. I’m already looking for the perfect Nigerian Dwarf buck for my girls, to cut down on the drive-thru goat sex in my life. We are going to re-fence our upper pasture, and once that is done, we need some sheepies to eat down the grass, and I’m thinking icelandics. And then there are the honey bees, and a few more fruit trees…. By dangling farm improvements in front of my nose, I’m hoping I can get energized enough to do a good job.
But I wish I could get excited. How do you rev up to do something that you dread, or that just isn’t working for you?