It took about a day and a half for me to settle down to actually believing that I had time off. I’ve been crazy-busy with a huge list of projects both here and at the day job, and as usual I’ve been calling myself “lazy” rather than “over-scheduled.”
Yesterday, I ran two 45-minute bouts with my good buddy Devin Harnois (NaNo profile here). That was good for 3000 words on Cleopatra’s Ironclads. This NaNo above all others has been a matter of getting by with a little help from my friends. When I’m running a bout, it’s all about cranking out the words. I do not have permission to look at stuff on the internet, wander off on a research tangent, or go off in the middle and do something else. It’s all about the focus. I’d be a bad NaNoBuddy if I distracted my friends, so sometimes that sense of duty is the only thing that keeps me from wandering off.
Nonetheless, in between times, I’m re-reading Tyldesley’s book and checking my other references, and reproaching myself for the amount of stupid stuff I’ve gotten wrong. I have to remind myself, repeatedly, that it’s called first draft for a reason. And it’s easy to get stuff wrong, as a non-specialist: the politics of the Middle East were just as complicated in the first century BC as they are now. Fascinating aside: Cleopatra’s diplomatic and military maneuvering resulted in a concession for Dead-Sea-area bitumen extraction. Yes, that’s oil. Two thousand years ago its uses were somewhat different, but it was still a key trade-good. And in this story, that concession will be turned to rather different use.
Today I’m looking at a brief stint with some day-job stuff, and then another double bout in the evening. Even if none of my buddies are around to write with me, I’ll still know that they’re out there. Getting by is all I’m managing these days, and the friends really help.