Getting it done

Once a week I am kidnapped. And I’m actually okay with it.

I have a friend (hi Gina) who is convinced that if I just have the time to write my book that my book will happen.

Good friends like that are kind of awesome. She recognizes that although I have a book with a compelling story, it’s the money projects, the wildfires, and the kids that are *always* put first – meaning that my book languishes. (That’s one reason why the weekend at the Buddhist retreat was so productive – it was a weekend of only writing with no distractions.)

So my friend makes sure that I get to her house, one morning a week from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. and we write, she on her next book and me on my project (working title: A Tick and a Chick – How a deformed chicken helped a mom cope with her son’s chronic Lyme disease.) Oh sure we talk a bit, and we’re always throwing technique questions back and forth, but then we go to separate rooms and we write.  In part, because of her insistence to this schedule I have a 300 page first-draft manuscript.

Yesterday I was going over a hard copy of my draft making notations where more information was needed and where events needed to be put in a different sequence in order to make sense to the reader (even though they made perfect sense to me J ) and I realized that the first 100 pages looks pretty damn good.

I floated out the idea that perhaps I should query an agent and send along those 100 pages.

“Not on your life,” my friend counseled, reminding me that “This has happened before.”

And it has. I’ve had 3 very good literary agents show interest in my project but when they requested a full manuscript, a kid got sick, we had school events, work projects showed up, you know, life happened and with one thing leading to another, interest dropped.

Literary agents want to make the sale – they aren’t particularly keen about sitting around and waiting until the stars line up perfectly in your life.

I console myself by saying that my story has evolved and it wouldn’t have been ready at those junctures, but even I can recognize sour grapes when I see them.

So while it defies every bit of writing advice (never send a completed memoir, just send the first 50 pages) I have to agree with my friend’s logic. If I don’t get it done, chances are, I won’t get it done.

The bar has been set.

My friend wants my book done by January. And with a supporter like this in my back pocket, I’m starting to believe that this may actually happen.

It's all right in here

It’s all right in here

Update from my friend: When she read this post her response was:

“Love your NHWN blog post!! And what’s this may actually happen stuff … it will happen!!!”

Ooooh that one is a task-master!  🙂

***

Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.

Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (www.simplethrift.wordpress.com) She writes about her chickens for GRIT, Backyard Poultry, Chicken Community, and Mother Earth News.

25 thoughts on “Getting it done

  1. So true! My book is languishing. The blogging, article writing (or, rather chasing editors), watching TV, eating biscuits & sleeping on the sofa, all seem to take precedence. I needed your boot up the backside! Thanks.

  2. It sounds like you have a good plan of action and a great routine. Stick with it. My sister and I schedule 1-2 writing nights a week where I get her kid-free to my house to write. Sometimes, we get distracted. We’ve been better about staying focused. January is also my deadline for my first novel to be complete. Best of luck. Keep us posted!

  3. Oh I feel this. My book has been put on the back burner between the kids, the housework, and my at home business. I need a firm kick to get motivated again!

  4. Hi Wendy – I know your plan will work, and those nears and dears will let you. I try to get away sometimes, to write. When I am bursting with ideas, it is easy to write the new material that is little more than a note here and there. When I’m tired, or frazzled, or out of ideas, I try editing. Silent

  5. “If I don’t get it done, chances are, I won’t get it done.”

    I’m the same way about most of my projects. It’s so easy to let life get in the way and then time slips by and the story isn’t told. So, go, go! And I will try to do the same.

    Good luck!

  6. You know I’m just looking forward to the day I can say I knew you when. (And there’s no “if” about it.) 🙂

  7. Hey Wendy,
    I’m so excited to hear about the progress on your book! And I LOVE the new title!

    You go, girl! Im so inspired!

    Love,
    Diane

  8. Oh boy that struck a chord. I wrote a book – I just sat down and wrote 1000 words a day, everyday until I had the finished manuscript neatly printed off and ready to go! It was one of the proudest moments of my life! What am accomplishment and then procrastination hit …. Like you say the kids, the this, the that and the anything of life and still three years on it sits there unseen and unvetted. Yep a friend like Gina would be a good friend right now :-/

  9. Great advice! I completed my first novel a couple of years ago after starting and abandoning many others over the years. I managed to finish my starter novel because I got up at 5:00 every day and wrote for an hour before waking the family and starting the normal morning routine. I’m over 50,000 words into the first draft of my second novel, but I don’t have the energy for the early morning writing sessions just now (husband in Afghanistan, busy job…) I’ve put it aside until the new year when, hopefully, things will be a little less frazzled and I can get back into the routine of regular writing sessions. Good intentions don’t write books–time and effort do.

  10. I need a muse and/ or a ‘Gina’! I have been trying to finish my book for around 2 years and between family and work and everything else in between, I just never find the time, I need a ‘Gina’ in my life! 🙂

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