Hi Folks – It has been a week since I hit the wall and took off from the computer, and I’m back, at least sort of. The combination of a lingering illness, exhaustion from trying to finish the book, stress from a book not doing what I wanted to and just way too much time in front of the computer hit me all at once, and I really needed to step away for a while.
My wonderful editor at New Society (and the kind marketing director who I also dumped my stress on) have been really nice about my melt-down, and we’re talking now about a new deadline and release date for the book. I’m very grateful to them. My best guess is that the book will be due next spring, and will be released in fall 2011. Despite the fact that I’ve had a lot of trouble with it, this is a book I’m really excited about – figuring out how to adapt your life to new circumstances, with what you’ve got, with the actual people in your life is, I think, a worthwhile project. It just hasn’t been gelling for me, but being away from it for only a week has already helped me look at it more clearly, and I think it will be a lot better now.
Part of the problem has been that I set too fast a pace for myself. I got the contract to write _Depletion and Abundance_ in March of 2007, and because Aaron and I had already been working on _A Nation of Farmers_ contracted to write that one immediately afterwards. Before either even came out, I proposed putting my food storage material together for _Independence Days_. In a bit under two years I wrote three books, and had I made my deadline for _Making Home_, would have completed four in three years. I’ve been writing, editing or promoting a book (often both at once) nonstop for three years, and while I’ve never minded the hard work, I’m tired. Most of all, I think I’m tired of the computer, and longing to get back outside.
But of course, as someone pointed out to me, the person putting me on this schedule is well, me. A friend of mine, also a writer observed that normally, writers spend a year or two writing their books, but “you’re just weird.” I think I’ve been driven by a combination of how important I think getting the message out is, and my worry that Eric will be laid off (as a non-tenured faculty member at a New York State University) and my writing will have to support us. But it has finally occurred to me that driving myself clinically insane is probably not the best way to handle my concerns about the future ;-).
The funny thing is that I’m not usually a total overachiever – I’m much more of a slacker, and I think after three years of insane overachieving, my inner slacker is back. This is actually probably a good thing, if my goal is (and it is) doing good work but also having good life.
All of which is just a really long way of saying I’m back – to an extent. I’m still going to try and spend much less time at the computer. Right now, I think the book will be best served by my stepping away from it and focusing on other projects. A little distance is worth a lot. I’ll be blogging, but not nearly as much – first of all, I’m extending my internet vacation into a few weeks of half-time, so will be posting only a couple of days a week until the second week of April. With Passover, spring and school vacation coming up, I’m going to take my time, sleep in, play with the kids and play in the dirt.
Once I come back, I’m planning on posting only three days a week, and I’m really going to try and stick to that schedule, so I can concentrate on new farm projects and getting my life back together. For at least spring and summer, that’s my goal – we’ll see how well I resist the siren song of the internet, but I’m trying.
The good news is that I’m already feeling really refreshed and excited about some new stuff. I’ve got a new challenge coming that I think is both cool and very inspiring, and the Artist Currently Known as Crunchy Chicken and I have a secret plan to take over the world. I’m turning ye olde blogge into a working farm blog, and I have some other ideas. So there’s lots of good stuff coming as the season turns.
Thanks to everyone for your support, kindness and patience. The blog is officially reopened…mostly ;-).