An Embarrassment of Riches (Brian Katcher)

Like most authors, I have a 'real' job: teaching. And during a normal year, my free time is precious. When my wife and daughter go to bed around 9:30, I have two hours (three, if I'm willing to be loggy in the morning) to write. Even during summer vacation, we're usually on the run so much, I still have to budget in time for writing.

When the COVID hit, we were began teaching from home. Then, when we realized it wasn't going away anytime soon, we cancelled our vacation plans. We've done a lot of reading, binge watching, and various other projects. My lawn looks great.

When I realized I was going to be restricted to barracks for so long, the silver lining was that at least I would get more writing done. I could stay up all night! Lock myself in my room for days! Crank out an entire novel by the time this is over!

My 1000th Shining reference on YAOTL

In the two or so months since I stopped teaching online, I've written about 100 pages. That's about average for me during a regular school year. What happened to this great period of productivity I was expecting?

Well, part of the problem is I didn't want to isolate myself from my already isolated family. The plague robbed our daughter of vacation, drama camp, swimming, and her friends. I didn't want to make her even more alone. On the other hand, she's thirteen and doesn't exactly want to hang out with her father all day.

Mostly, though, it was just sloth. Why beat my brains out to finish a chapter tonight? I have weeks and weeks of free time! And how can I write with that leaky toilet staring me in the face (metaphorically)? And that garden isn't going to weed itself.

Also, I used to limit video game binges to once every hundred pages I wrote. Now I find myself playing for hours a week.

I used to pray for a day just for myself. Now I'm getting weeks and months. And it's unclear whether this will end when school is supposed to start.

Sadly, the extra free time has made me less disciplined. My goal is to have a novel finished by the new year. Watch this space.


  1. Two things were quickly banished when the pandemic arrived, normal and expected. They were quickly followed by productivity which was replaced by preservation of sanity. Everything else we counted on sits in the foaming dice cup of outrageous circumstance, awaiting the next shake and roll.

  2. I've been writing, but I'm much less connected online right now. I totally agree you gotta do what keeps ya sane.


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