My calendar seems to ebb and flow like the tides. Within days, I will go from sand bars and mud to a roiling storm of activity. Over a two-day period, I will have reason to fill in dates spanning months at a time, plotting my future as sure as the ink is made of stone. Helping people with projects, trips to shows, dentist appointments, and visits to see my kids fill the pages, helping to wash ashore a fresh catch of activities. I love to make plans; but looking at the netted-tangle of scrawl all at once sets my heart to beating too quickly. To see it all at once can’t be healthy.
Imagine if cave men and women kept calendars; kill the wooly mammoth on Monday and Tuesday; chop it up on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Visit the in-laws on the weekend and bring mammoth stew that you have miraculously figured out how to make Friday night, and start all over again on Monday. Depression caveman-style would have set in and there would be no wooly mammoth stew for the in-laws.
When I look at a manuscript that needs revising, I feel the same way. If I focus on more than a page at a time, I am overwhelmed to the point of dysfunction. When I should be worrying about killing the wooly mammoth, my mind is on the stew. And we all know what happens when we are not paying attention to the job at hand, especially when a wooly mammoth is charging you and all you have is a pen.