Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Book Update + Some Advice from Stephen King

So far, this month has not gone as I'd planned.

Side note, sort of: I finished the first draft of my book just before Thanksgiving. A friend and former colleague helped me move parts around so that it didn't take such drastic temporal leaps. It has a flow that I think makes sense now, thanks to her input and organizational skills. I no longer repeat the same stories four separate times, thanks to her keen eye and editing efforts.

Then on the advice of Stephen King (who's been somewhat successful at writing books), I decided I was going to let my manuscript sit, untouched, for six weeks. The idea being that when I came back to it, it would be with a fresh set of eyes. In theory, I'd be ready to cut out the parts that were unnecessary (no matter how brilliantly I thought I'd written them) or add details that would help carry the story forward or fix the parts that weren't so well-written.

My plan was to spend this month, after the clamor of the holidays had quieted down, to set to work on draft number two. I would be diligent in the new year, without the distraction of present-buying or cookie-making or company-hosting. Quinn would be back at preschool after an extended holiday break, so I'd have more free time. Or so I thought.

Then, I was hit with the worst cold I've had in at least a year, and just as I was recovering, Quinn had to have surgery. My little guy needed me. Editing my memoir would have to wait until both of us were back on our feet, back to our routines, backing away from the Tinker Toys and television overload.

And there went the first two-and-a-half weeks of my year.

So that's the update on my book. It's done, sort of, but still needs some reworking in spots. I've got a meeting with my agent this week, who, if I'm lucky, won't drop me just yet for still having not completed this project. Then I'm meeting with a friend next week who's also writing a book, hers on how writing helps us heal. (Here's further proof.) My friend and I are sitting down during my chemo infusion to exchange chapters, to read and critique and (I hope) praise each other's work. Please wish me luck.

Another friend recently wrote me that she doesn't set new year's resolutions so much as new year's goals, the idea being that an aspiration is somehow more achievable -- maybe because the idea of it is more approachable? -- than a strict resolution. If that's true, my goal of the early part of this year is to wrap up this project, perhaps tie it in twine, send it on its way, and pray my agent is able to find a publisher.

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In the meantime (or when I'm looking for inspiration), I recently read this, just started this, and am waiting on this, which was written by my sorority sister and friend Amelia, and is available for pre-order now. Amelia's book is bound to be as clever and poignant and hilarious as her blog. Go get yourself a copy! Or let me know what books you're reading lately. We'll start a club and discuss over some wine. Because another thing Stephen King told me is: "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others; read a lot and write a lot." Hey, at least I'm still finding (a teensy bit of) time to read.


  1. I need to find more time to read! That should be my goal for the next bit. Good job on being sort of done!

    1. I try to read a bit every day. Sometimes it's while I'm waiting at the doctor's office. Always for a few minutes before bed, It adds up.

      And thanks! Fingers crossed that we find an interested publisher!

  2. GOOD LUCK with your book!! That is exciting! I am hoping to publish a book one day but about my childhood memoirs.