Eric Mayer

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Working and Writing
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Yesterday I finished another legal editing project. I have one more tight deadline to meet before my schedule gets back to what passes for normal these days. The article is due by April 16th. Tax day. A reminder that I shouldn't complain about having deadlines since no deadlines would mean no work and no work would mean...well....better not to dwell on that.

During the past three months of frantic labor I managed to do my bit to polish up the already drafted new mystery novel to be sent off to the publisher. I even took a few days to co-write a mystery story for an anthology. Aside from that I've done no creative writing, or even creative thinking, except the sort necessary to put together legal encyclopedia articles.

Although intellectually demanding, legal writing is, in at least one way, exactly the opposite of fiction writing. When you're writing about the law you cannot make anything up. You cannot use original ideas. In fact, it is necessary to document, by footnote, the source of every sentence. In the legal writing context, creativity involves digesting and arranging unmanageably large masses of material into something approaching coherence.

Shifting between the different mental states required for writing fiction and the law is difficult for me. Maybe I have an inflexible brain. I tend to work on projects all day long and then wake up in the night and cry out -- "I know where to introduce the clue involving the three-legged cat!" or "I just realized where I should discuss quantum meruit!"

Being self-employed and working at home makes the transition between the two sorts of endeavors more difficult for me. When I toiled in an office I had little difficulty drawing mini-comics during the evenings. There was a clear demarcation line between job and home. The moment I bolted from that office my brain switched into recreation mode.

Now I never leave my office. Not only that, most of my creative endeavors, unlike mini-comics, are done for pay. Our fiction is creative but it is also work. About the only way I goof off is by writing blogs.

Now, however, I need to inhale deeply and slowly and plunge into the final rush job By the time I'm finished and can breath again the snow outside might finally have melted and the air might actually be warm enough to breath.

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