Radio silence the last couple of days wasn't due to anything sinister. Just me with my head down, working on both my day job and on what I hope are the last round of edits for The Fall Of The Hammer. I'm a little less than one-third of the way through that process, and I have to remind myself not to rush through. If I find I'm at the point in the evening when I want to start rushing through a sentence, I quit for the night.
Better to do this slowly but right, than hurry and screw it up. I'm not on anyone's schedule but my own, although it's sometimes hard to remember that.
I do sometimes wonder: if I were doing this on someone else's schedule, would I be more disciplined or less? I'd most likely have a professional editor, so I'd be working on a different timeframe for starters -- but I'd have far harder deadlines, and I'd most likely have to pressure myself even more fiercely than I do now. And there's no way a schlub like me would have the luxury of quitting my day job, so I'd still have to balance my creative work against my existing responsibilities, only in a far more implacable way.
Illustrator Hajime Sorayama was once asked in an interview, "What's necessary in an illustrator?" He replied: "The 'professional'. That's it." From this I took it he meant what matters most is how disciplined you are, inwardly and outwardly. It's more than just how people appreciate someone who shows up on time (half of life is just showing up, I find), but how you yourself draw strength from being professional to yourself.
These last few weeks it's been easier than ever for me to slack off -- to sleep in late on Saturdays when I have no overriding reason to get up, for instance. But some part of me always knows I've not respected the professional in myself; some part of me always regrets it.
So if I had to take my creative work and do it for the sake of a true profession, not just something I do because I want to, I could probably do it. But as long as it's not mandatory, I don't want to make it mandatory, and risk turning something I do because I want to into something I do because I have to.
New York City
Other Lives Of The Mind