The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Friday, July 06, 2007

(Given the) Boot Camp

by Melissa Bell

And so it begins.

Summer. And the unique thing about this summer, for me, is that I get to write and write and write and pretty much do nothing else if I don’t wanna. Now how did I work that, you may ask? Council grant? Award? Sudden marriage to a wealthy patron of the arts? No. Nothing so glamorous as any of that. Simple fact of the matter is I got canned from the job-job.

Was it expected? Yes and no. Won't I miss the people I worked with? Most of them. Any regrets? Ah, regrets. I’ve had a few. But then again, too few to mention. (And sincere thanks to you, Mr. Paul Anka – I can always rely on a fellow Canadian for putting the appropriate words to these kinds of things.)

Right now I’m listening to the music of The Tragically Hip spill out from my awesome little laptop. No need to read anything into the band of choice. My current situation is far from tragic, and I’ve never been anything close to “hip”. The only relevance is that I never listen to music while I write. It’s always felt distracting and superfluous. But tonight…well…things are different now. I’m probably going to listen to a lot more music. I’ve missed it. I’ve missed a lot of things. My fault. No. Scratch that. My choice.

And disappointing you is getting me down…

I’ve got a glass of cool white wine at my side. At least a dozen large writing projects to finish. And the unique opportunity to work on all of them unencumbered for a little while. My only fear right now is the fear of letting myself down by not taking full advantage of this rare opportunity of a clean-slate summer to actually accomplish a number of things that I always vowed I would “if only I could find the time”. Well, the time is now. It has found me. Time for me to put up or shut up, dammit.

For years I would spend long hours at the end of my day trying to cram as much writing as I could into the quiet night before I had to check the time and get to bed so that I wasn’t a full-on zombie the following day. Partial-zombie is par for the course – that’s normal right? At least in my own experience in the workaday world of cubes, coffee machines, and photocopiers. I have always had the luxury of being kept awake at night by a capricious muse. Others aren’t so fortunate. They get children with ear infections. Or car payments. Mortgages. I have none of these.

I put it off. I put it off. I put it off again…

But now…well, now I still do have the obligation to work. Lounging about unbathed with a bag of chips and Maury Povich is not on the agenda. Me bum is going to be sitting in front of my laptop by nine – or earlier – each and every morning for as long as I can eke that out. I’ve been trained.

Summer off? You’ve got to be kidding. It’s all about being a writer now. Full-time. Hard core.

(And don’t look so smug, Mr. Noodles. Your evilness has no effect on me. I’ve always secretly loved you.)

Wish me luck, my friends.

And have a wonderful safe weekend.


Blogger Tricia Dower said...

You're right in thinking that you can transfer the work discipline to the writing discipline, Mel. Go to work every morning, as usual, but this time you're working for yourself! You won't need luck.

Fri Jul 06, 01:26:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger tamara said...

Yes, discipline's the hardest part; but I sense you've a lot of it.

Sorry to hear the circumstances of all this, but at least something positive is going to come out of this. I am looking forward to hearing more of your progress. It will surely be inspiring.

Fri Jul 06, 03:40:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

I'm happy for you! I heard bits of several of your past nanowrimo novels which thrilled me- so I'm now hoping they will be polished up and purchasable by the fall! Or can we expect a comic screenplay, Ms. Bell?
Eager in Toronto!

Fri Jul 06, 09:50:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Chumplet said...

I had this one week off, and I thought I'd spend it writing. No such luck... I'm mostly obsessing about my next submission, checking my email every half hour, and ferrying my teenagers around. I was supposed to clean the back porch so I could have a nice place to get away from everyone to write, but I haven't done that either.

I'm trying not to feel guilty.

Enjoy your time, Melissa, and write on!

Fri Jul 06, 01:03:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

Ah, you'll be fine! Some adjusting -- yes, but that's life. Write, write, and write some more. Just give yourself a clear deadline for this writer's vacation. Minimise the stress, keep an agenda.

Fri Jul 06, 04:46:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger MelBell said...

Thanks for all your supportive comments, everyone. It's definitely appreciated. I'm jazzed, for sure! :-)

Fri Jul 06, 05:11:00 pm GMT-4  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear CWC,

As one of my favorite blogs,
you are hereby designated

to receive a
Tothworld Tag!

Details are on my Blog:

Carry on,
all you fascinating
talented and lovely

ps... maybe you could do 1 habit/fact for each of 8
separate CWC'ers?

Just a thought.

Okay then.

By bye.


Fri Jul 06, 05:58:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Fri Jul 06, 09:31:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...


Thanks for the mention, and the honor. We surely do appreciate it.


Fri Jul 06, 10:37:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger MelBell said...

Steve G., thanks so much for your comment, but I felt I had to remove it. I just don't have the time right now for all kinds of naughty shenanigans involving Hawaiian mango love butter and a surfboard. ;-)

You're a true peach though, you are. Mwah!


Sat Jul 07, 02:06:00 pm GMT-4  

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