interregnum /ˌin(t)ərˈreɡnəm/ noun
1) a period when normal government is suspended, especially between successive reigns or regimes.
2) an interval or pause between two periods of office or other things.
The world is holding its breath.
As I sit here writing this, I find myself living through a number of nested interregnums.
We’re still in the throes of the Great Pause, as the world tries to figure out how to live with, and ultimately get to living without, Covid-19.
Here in the US, we’re in the interregnum between administrations, holding our breath and waiting for the madness of King Trump to come to an end.
We’re also in the shift between seasons, as fall slowly shades into winter, ending our twin hurricane and fire seasons sometime later this month as temperatures fall and the rains begin in earnest here in the West. We hope.
And my writing career is in a weird suspended state, as I transition from publisher to self-published, rereleasing my novels, waiting for my agent submissions for “Dropnauts” to come to a close, and gearing up to both edit and release that book and prep and send out “A Plague of Earth and Fire” for my next round of queries.
I’m not good at waiting, but these times have taught me patience. Or at least how to seem patient (mostly) while I wait them out. You’d be forgiven if you miss the anxiety I’m feeling, visible only in the bouncing of my leg and the occasional, out-of-proportion outbursts to little annoyances – like when Apple locks me out of my account for typing my password wrong three times.
I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and tell myself that this, too, shall pass.
But it would surely be easier if there weren’t so many purgatories to deal with, all at once.
So I do what I can. I figure out what I have control over, and what’s simply beyond me.
I can’t change the weather. I can’t move the orange one out of the White House. And I can’t make COVID go away any faster, though I am doing everything I can to keep myself and Marco safe from it.
I can make progress on the writing front.
Every day, I get up at 5:30 AM, and start in on Dropnauts, working through it one last time to smooth it out, to add life and color, and to run a fine tooth comb through the text for any errors.
I send out my short stories, keeping them rotating through the spec fic magazine circuit, playing my own version of whack-a-mole as each one comes back to me.
I plan for my “Plague” edit, and for the submission of my books to the trade magazines.
And I figure out my next steps.
Slowly, ever so slowly, I move through my writing interregnum. It’s not easy, and the path ahead is fraught with potholes and unexpected detours. But at least I am moving.
One day soon, I’ll come out on the other side.
To my friends, what kind of interregnums, or pauses, are you mired in? And what are you doing about them?