One of the problems with accepting writing commitments is that they often come months, even years, in advance of the submission deadline, leaving the deceptive impression that there will be time to complete them without undue pressure or haste. Things tend not to work out that way, other work having a tendency to intrude and occupy one’s time. Before you know it, a deadline, or rather deadlines, loom and all available time is put to use in getting on with the research and writing.
The result is that working on writing commitments often resembles the juggler who works to keep all the plates on the end of poles spinning at the same time. Fortunately, I have not yet had the equivalent of a plate breaking, but it is a case of keeping busy. This also explains why there may be gaps of some days between posts on the blog – I get so absorbed in the writing that it some time before I realise that days have passed without me blogging or indeed catching up with other things on my ‘to do’ list. I try to reserve some half or whole days for catching up on some of these, such as e-mails and administrative chores.
My writing commitments at the moment mean that this summer rather resembles previous summers. I am just completing a chapter I promised, for a book on leadership, on leadership in the legislative arena. Now that I have an 8,000-word draft completed, I am moving on to a paper – for a conference and subsequent book chapter – on Britain’s stance in relation to the European Union. The title I have been given is ‘Opt Out: Britain’s Unsplendid Isolation’, though I appreciate that some may think a modification to that may be more appropriate.
As soon as those are out the way, I shall be getting on with completing a new edition of Parliament in British Politics. The first edition was published in 2005 – time flies – and a lot has happened in the interim. I am also working on the text of my lecture, for the History of Parliament annual lecture, in November, on the Parliament Act 1911. I have been getting on with the research. Though I do not have to travel much at the moment, any train travel is put to good use for reading key material. Once Parliament resumes, so will the opportunity for getting on with even more.