Wednesday, January 20, 2010

.... or get off the pot

You can fill in the blank, right?

I started my book on March 9, 2008.  That's the date on the top of my very first braintstorming page.  I hadn't read an actual BOOK for FUN in a very long time.  (Because of course college text books and Newsweek and Curious George don't count, right?)  In February, I went to Las Vegas with my husband on a business trip.  While he was off touring the transit center, I read Twilight in the hotel room, and I remembered why I loved reading so much when I was younger and had more time to myself.  I also remembered that dream of someday writing a book, that I'd figured would have to wait until my kids were older.

Discussing Twilight is another post subject.  But after I finished the book, I was curious about the author and visited Stephenie Meyer's blog.  Well, wowza!  It only took her three months to write the book and three more to get a book deal!  And with three little boys about the same ages as mine.  Dang it, I'm a good writer; surely I could do the same!  I was gonna send off my manuscript by July!

Here we are nearly two years later.  No book deal.  No query letters.  Wasn't I supposed to be rich by now?

Life happens.  It's been a very busy two years.  We rented our house and moved to a new one.  My kids got older; my oldest is in school now.  Steve blew out his ACL and had surgery; recovery was much longer and more involved than expected.  We've had stitches, strep throat, the flu, assorted other illnesses, and my youngest was diagnosed with asthma.  Good things, bad things, but all of them time-consuming.  And brain-power-consuming.

Everything has taken longer than expected.  And that's not bad.  Family comes first.  But lately I've been having some interesting conversations with people in my life.

Steve:  So when are you sending off your book?
Me:  Gosh, quit nagging me!  I've been busy, okay?
Steve:  I was just asking.  Gosh!

Mom:  I think your book is good enough.  You should send it off.
Me:  Good enough?!  No way!  There's still so much I need to fix!  I can't send it off til it's perfect!
Mom:  (Long silence on other end of the phone.)  It's fine.
Me:  Whatever!  It's so not fine!  For example,  (And I proceed to list everything still wrong.)

Friend Ami:  So how's that book coming?

Friend Lisa:  So how's that book coming?

Friend Mary:  So how's that book coming?

Sister Becky:  So how's that book coming?

Maybe it's time to quit fretting over every comma, finish editing the damn thing, and get my query letter written.  Maybe it's time to start seeing if this is actually going to go anywhere.  Maybe it's time to quit being so scared of disappointment that I just keep procrastinating the Day of Reckoning.

Maybe it's time to get off the pot.


  1. You said "damn". . . you know it warms my heart when you do that.

    While I am excited to read the book and will put some pressure on you, I don't want you to necessarily feel pressured. I also know that you want it bad enough that when it happens it will be the "perfect" timing for you and your life.

  2. You know I said it just for you.

    And I do need pressure. It's good. Keeps me motivated. It's way too easy to blame the kids and read about Brangelina instead of writing.

  3. Ok, I had to laugh when I saw the word "damn", because I say it at least once a day. Ok, probably more, but let's not stamp my ticket to Hell just yet. :) Is it bad to blame this habit on my children?

    Anyway, I finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society last night and the information about the author was very interesting. I think it might apply in this situation. Without going into all the details, she talked about how her editor had worked with her on the book before it was published and the changes the editor kept requesting. In the end, one request required a major rewrite. So here's my thought: When happy with it - not when things are perfect -Send out those query letters! Chances are the editor is going to want you to change things anyway right?

    I could be completely wrong, and now that I think about it, I'm not sure that I've always given you the best advice. So, take it or leave it - I'll love you no matter what :)

  4. Amber, I think it's completely appropriate to blame every bad habit on our children. Works for me!

    And you have always given me FANTASTIC advice. I think you're right- I'd rather have the book as perfect as I can make it, than send it out when it's not ready and get rejected.



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