The Tamago Commitment

I’m going to link you to Seanan McGuire’s article on writing and balance. There is a reason.


Yesterday, in a pique of math, I discovered that I am now responsible for 52 classes and 785 seats approximately. That is my original load as a supervisor cubed. It never pays to be too successful at your work. We’ve already talked about ways to change my job structure next year so that I can actually manage a program of such a size, including the much coveted lengthened contract. It has become apparent to my overlords that they don’t want to lose me to writing, so they are trying to make my current job a little less intense.

Small wonder I won’t have time to get Blood is Thicker than Water up this week.

Now, I’m not here to talk about work. I realize that once again, as a day job writer, I have to find a way to make sure the writing continues to happen. These last two weeks, the college has grabbed me. I wrote a rough draft of Oliver Toddle, a few scenes of Cat and my leviathan project, and that’s all. This is a disturbing trend.

I can feel the lack of balance. The technicolor dreams are back, my creativity release valve feels stoppered, I feel guilty about not maintaining my commitment. Pretty much all the psychological things Seanan talks about above have visited my brain over the last two weeks.

What do I do in response? I plan. Because if I don’t plan, that’s it, the end of the effort of two years, and this is all the farther I get pursuing the writing dream.

Here’s what’s going to happen:

1. Each week I will look at my free time. I will write the word WRITING in bold capital letters, with a certain time connected to WRITING. This should net me around 2-3 evenings of writing each week. For example, both tonight and Thursday I’m scheduled to write from 7-9. I also have 3 hours scheduled to write on Saturday. I will post my writing schedule for the week here, to be more accountable to it.

2. One of my weekly goals here is to post progress. Another is to post the cool snippet of the week. Posting artifacts=accountability!

3. Finally, with rare exceptions (unavoidable meetings), I have put writing in my academic schedule every Tuesday from 12-3. I will get out of the office on Tuesday specifically to write.

This is important to me. It would be *so* easy for the day job to swallow me up, and it just isn’t going to happen. I do have to get firm about my writing times to make this work. I will become a published fantacist. By God.

How can you help? In addition to sending me your spare moments, as requested in this summer’s campaign for time, you can serve as a good example. My progress posts will be a good time for you to post your progress, my snippets your favorite bits. Show me what good writers do. Do it as a response or in your journals. I don’t care. Just show me your role model-ness. 😕

*rolls up sleeves* Right now, regrettably, I have to get back to being a good professor. I will see you very soon with some writing work.


Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

2 thoughts on “The Tamago Commitment”

  1. Hey, I just made the “progress bar” a widget. I sued to have a widget where I’d list all the WIPs, but that became unwieldy as it went forward.

    I update the numbers in the progress bar as I complete (draft 0) chapters, or rewrite older chapters.

    Good luck with the planning.

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