Originally uploaded by Alberta Fifty.
Like those very contented looking "broody hens," I find sitting on my eggs to be a highly satisfying and supremely distracting activity. Without half trying, it can consume half my day, and even more of my consciousness.
And no, I'm not pregnant. Thank God for that, at least! Don't get me wrong; pregnancy is wonderful and miraculous and all that, but blessedly, I'm done with that variety of egg sitting.
No, for me, sitting on my eggs is a writerly activity. It involves worrying about work that's already done instead of focussing on work that is supposed to be in progress. So now you get it, right? It's much more fun to fantasize about book deals or even "blog fame," whatever that might be, than it is to sit down at the computer and face the ignominious blank screen.
Whether it's the novel that my agent has recently sent to editors, or just a blog post, sitting on my eggs means constantly looking backward. As you can imagine, it's not the best way to make progress.
In the blog, it involves, checking the comments or the site meter with narcisssistic frequency, and then experiencing henlike brooding if the number remains static.
And when it comes to a manuscript that's just been put into circulation, there's no end of distracting busywork a broody hen can find to do. I can google the same editors I googled yesterday to find out what they bought, and then go to Amazon to see if the books are similar to mine. I can check the recent deals on Publisher's Marketplace to see if they've bought anything recently which may or may not mean? Well, I don't know. Yesterday, I imagined it meant one thing, but today I think it might be the exact opposite.
And of course, I can check my phone, searching for that magical 212 area code. And don't forget the hourly email check! I can reread my agent's last five emails, hunting for hidden subtext. Take that third phrase in the last email. Did that mean she's secretly negotiating a deal, but she doesn't want me to know until it's definite? On Monday, I'm wild with elation. By Tuesday,I'm castigating myself for being such a whack job. The words mean what they mean. Period.
Then, when I've exhausted that form of sitting on my eggs, there's always the occasional short story or bundle of poems I've submitted. Better go over my records (right now, of course!) and see how long they've been out. Ooh, months! Does that mean they've made the final cut, or just that they're sitting on the bottom of some anonymous pile for eternity or were accidentally returned in someone else's SASE?
Hmmm...better make some tea and ruminate on that one.
And so an industrious chicken spends her day.
The only thing, is that unlike the chicken, I've produced nothing. Not a single speckled egg.
So here's my vow: Once the work is out of my hands, it's out of my mind, too.
No more broody hens allowed in these parts.
Words written for nano: 2,431.