Sunday, February 10, 2013

Deadlines, Commitments, Black Holes, and Superpowers

In the last week, I've had the dawning realization that I will not make the deadline for my novel.

Pretty much what I have left is to write four-ish chapters, fix some local plot problems, go over nine or ten chapters with minor revising, and polish, putting small threads in place. I've received feedback from some fellow writers that looks very helpful, but I haven't had time to put it into action.

However, I only have five days. And on each of those days, I'll be spending almost my entire evening in the theater. Taylor University's production of Godspell opens on my birthday, my deadline date, and there were enough holes to fill in voluntary positions that I felt I needed to help. I may be able to write during the day, but with homework, classes, work, and a laptop that can't move from my desk (it's a long story), I'm not going to have the time I need to get it done, despite the deadline rush. I haven't even had time to research and pick an editor at Tor.

I'm bummed, yes. Part of me says I could have spent more time on it before, could have pushed harder. I certainly could have. But when I push too hard with my writing, I burn out. I know because I did. Other time problems were due to circumstances out of my control. Whether or not I could be in better shape right now, there's not much I can do. Maybe I'll find the gumption within me and the time around me to pull this off, after all. I'm just not pinning my hopes on it.

I've been thinking about commitments and responsibility a lot lately. I have a hard time saying no when people need help getting things done, no matter if it's something I really want to do or not. Most of the time in the theater, I do want to help. Working with props (and other technical aspects) in the theater satisfies my need for creative projects, contributions to a larger goal, not to mention my love for the plays themselves. I like the interaction with other departments. I like the steady progress.

However, it's hard to deny that theater can be a soul-consuming, time-sucking black hole.

Combined with the regular aspects of life -- friends, spiritual development, my position of authority in my dorm, the aforementioned classes and ensuing homework, and a currently unsatisfied need for PEACE and QUIET and TIME WITH GOD, I'm wondering what to do with all the things I want to do. (If only my superhero altar ego had the ability to manipulate time.) My community overflows with ways to get involved, volunteer, lead. Sometimes, my mind and heart have a hard time deciding which of those I should be doing -- even arguing that they're more important than some of the things I already do.

However, one of my superpowers is being a dedicated worker. There's a part of my mind looking at the week ahead, rolling up its sleeves, and deciding how much sleep I can do without. And more than that, I have a God for whom having superpowers is an understatement. He can use these deadlines, black holes, and commitments to accomplish his purposes. I just have to try to align mine with his.

Wish me luck -- or, since I'll be in the theater, a couple of broken legs.

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