Sometimes, writing is just damn hard. Okay, most of the time. Like now, as I’m trying to pull together the vast mass of rough pages for the new book, a biography of Muhammad, into a readable whole. The research has been great, and reading through what I’ve already written has been exciting. But now it’s time for craft — time to shape and rewrite everything into a coherent narrative that makes sense to others, not just to me. And that’s a whole different ball game. I’ve been tussling with just the two opening chapters for the past two weeks, approaching them this way and that, ‘solving’ the problem at night only to come back and totally unsolve it all over again the next morning. Just now I came across this video, and that kitten could as well be me, the two perfect green apples the two perfect chapters I know are there but can’t quite get my hands on:
All of which is by way of saying that I think I’m going to have to take a break from posting here on the AT for a while — a few months, probably — and really focus in on getting a full draft written. Because though I know some people are capable of stunning amounts of multi-tasking, I also know I’m not one of those people. I need to become what any writer mid-book really is: the most boring person in the world, totally mono-focused, all but unaware of everything else that’s happening.
The problem is that writing this blog is a wonderful and (to me, at least) surprising exception to that opening statement that writing is hard. I find blogging a delight, and somehow even when I write out of anger, it’s still fun. And your responses and comments are part of the delight and the fun, as well as enormously encouraging. It really does feel like an ongoing conversation, and one I will badly miss. So not-blogging (unblogging?) is going to be hard. Which of course means that if I can’t resist, I may still post something from time to time. Just not with any regularity. Not until I have a full readable draft of The First Muslim (yes, that’s still the title).
There’s an upside, though: not only will the book get written sooner, but when I come back to regular blogging (like three times a week), it’ll be with a huge amount of pent-up energy and appetite for the fray. So this is absolutely not a farewell — not least because I’ve only just begun to touch on all the things I wanted to explore when I began the AT fifteen months ago — but just a temporary au revoir.
So please, bear with me, and wish me luck and bon voyage. I’ll send postcards from time to time, telling you where I’m at. And I’ll be back! — Lesley