Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Whence the procrastination?

I'm having a tough time jettisoning the Egg and it's reached a level of procrastination I'm not completely familiar with. I'm a procrastinator from way back, but I have really overcome it since childhood - once in a while the tendency rears its ugly head, but I'm able to quash it like an untoward subpoena. And I've always been able and willing to get my work done in a timely fashion (usually I stall on dishes).

But, I can't seem to get my mind around finishing the last few things I need to do before sending this MS back to the press.

Here's all that remains to do:
1) Revise the first few paragraphs of the Introduction to begin a bit stronger.
2) Revise the Table of Contents to reflect changes in page numbers, chapter titles, etc.
3) Revise the general book prospectus to agree with my revisions.

Nope. Nuthin' else. WTF? This might take a day or two max!

So, at 4 in the morning I was thinking about my resistance to getting these last few things done. I can't and won't let Guy and Miles take the lion's share of the blame on this (although I am sleeping insane amounts). And even having TD's brother in town last week doesn't explain it all - I could have and did easily send them off to do their own thing while I "worked" (read: futzed around on the web). No, it's something else.

When I was originally preparing this manuscript to be sent to the press last summer and early fall, I was a powerhouse of efficiency. I cranked that puppy out. I was nervous about sending it, of course, but I was eager to get it to them. They could have said no right away, but there was a better chance of a revise and resubmit because they had solicited the manuscript. But this time, I realized in the wee hours of the morning, the answer will either be yes or no - not the cushier, fluffier R&R. It's now or never for them. If they don't like what I've done, they'll just pass on it. eek.

The revisions the reader wanted were not major, but I'm still worried I haven't done enough. Before, I felt like I could hit the ball into their court because they'd likely hit it back to me. Now, I'm stymied at the serve line (please pardon the horribly stale analogy).

So, peeps who have written books and/or articles: do you guys find yourselves having more trouble sending back an R&R than sending a first submission?

I'll end this post now because it's become part of my procrastination agenda...

On a separate note, I've been diagnosed with conditional pregnancy carpal tunnel syndrome in both my wrists. So, I wear little splints at night and sometimes during the day.

I feel like I gimp-blimp.


heu mihi said...

"[D]o you guys find yourselves having more trouble sending back an R&R than sending a first submission?"


But I'll bet that they're going to accept the thing. Just finish it and send it off--it's not like your final tinkering is going to change the substance of your revisions, right? Nor are you going to go back and make MORE major changes? So what's done is done--hold your breath, close your eyes, and rip the band-aid off, or whatever other (hopefully less mangled and gross) analogy works for you.

What Now? said...

I have nothing helpful on the submission question, not having gotten to that point with a book manuscript, but I just wanted to chime in to say that "gimp-blimp" is hilarious. Not that I'm laughing AT you, of course -- no, no, it's WITH you and your amusing self-naming!

Good luck with getting the manuscript off of your desk and onto theirs.

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

So... I have not written a scholarly book. But I have had trouble getting an R&R done for an article. The only thing that worked for me was setting a hard deadline to get it done.

I did have motivation beyond the usual pressures to get done, though. I was an editorial assistant for a scholarly journal for three years, and it was always exasperating when people dragged their feet on revisions. It set back our quarterly publication schedule sometimes, and once we had to take an article out of an issue and put it in another because the person was taking such a long time. These weren't major changes either. And on a 25-30 page article, it really shouldn't be such a hassle.

I know that publishers expect some lag time with R&R, but take my advice and try to set a deadline so that no one gets annoyed with you. They'll publish you anyway, but it's never good to make an enemy in publishing. People talk to each other in the biz.

Susan said...

It's funny, what I find even harder is the last time it goes out so it goes into production, because that really is the last time to change anything....

This Ro(a)mantic Life said...

I have no manuscript revision experience -- but I feel for you! Pregnancy carpal tunnel and all. Hope the little splints are helping.

As for procrastination, props to you for getting around it in all this time before. I find I'm a selective procrastinator. Of late, the selection's been broader than usual ...