Kami talks about the muddle in the middle, the point in a novel where you get tangled in plot complexity and it's easy to just let the project die and move on to something new and shiny. As a non-fiction author, I don't usually get that. Usually, the trajectory of what i want to say is pretty clean. If there's a muddle in the middle (or beginning or end) it's almost always a sign that my message isn't clear enough.
I'm hitting some kind of meta-muddle. things going on outside and between projects. I have lots to do and very little is getting done.
Projects. Writing aside, I have some lesson plans that feel like they need work. They don't. I've looked them over obsessively. But there are two classes that we haven't taught before and I keep wanting to fix things that aren't broken. To script the lectures in unrealistic and ineffective detail.
Writing. I have six good projects in various stages right now. "Principles" is actually my first book, something I have been working on for years, almost two decades at this point. The big book of things that make other things work. "Concepts" is a companion to "Principles". "Concepts" covers how force professionals think. It will be easier to finish than anything else at this point. "InFighting" is on the back burner. We shot the DVD, that should be good enough for now, but I know it won't be. Both because my publisher likes tie-ins and because there are important things I can explain in writing that won't show in a video, "InFighting" needs to happen. And it's something I love.
The other three are things I'm very passionate about, one on how to teach for emergency skills; one on police and ethics; and one on power dynamics. That's a problem, because I'll be working on "Concepts" and get an idea that needs to be in "Power" and I'm like an ADHD dog in a room full of squirrels. It doesn't help that all three are pretty (fluid? vague? ill-defined? unpioneered?) so it's easy to get frustrated, to feel that if it's never been done right before, who am I to try?
Boo fuckin' hoo.
And, one more writing thing. The exciting projects, particularly "Power" are kicking up a cognitive hornet's nest. Just a little research and a little insight I'm seeing some very uncomfortable things about the way the world works. Things I almost wish that I could unsee, things that make me a little mad and sad and indignant.
A friend of ours says that when you are on the verge of a break through, the world will start throwing you distractions. Evidently. Freelancing is chaotic at the best of times, but in the space of a week we've gone from wondering if we would have to sell something to make the mortgage to looking at the most lucrative month of my life. I've been getting coached by businessmen on how to make the seminars big business. Limited partnership proposals from big organizations. And a 23-page document to fix my website because I have time for that and need more business.
Somewhere in there I caught myself, for a moment, thinking about maximizing revenues. I had to take a step back. That's not me. Saving lives, making people stronger is what I do. I'm not opposed to money, it's easy to show that capitalism is the greatest driver of peace and prosperity in human history, but it's not my core. Not how I keep score. Looks like I need to get down to fundamentals. And write a business plan in tune with my values. And finish some damn books.