Monday, October 17, 2011

No more excuses

This whole thing started the fall I went to the Covered Bridge Festival in Indiana with my not-quite-all-there friends Stacey and Kristy. At the time Kristy was about 10 and 1/2  months pregnant  which explains the not -all-there part. What woman in her right mind would take off with the likes of us so close to her past due date? And what kind of irresponsible  women would drag along an immensely preggers woman in the heat of the Indian Summer just to over eat at the Elephant Ear booth ?

We rented a trailer , complete with slanting floor and broken Lazy Boy recliner, as all the other FINE roach motels were already booked. That's what you get for waiting till the day before to make reservations, the covered bridge festival is very big in these here parts.

 On day one, wandering through the hundreds of booths, I found the most beautiful book.

Handcrafted and leather bound with homemade paper inside, I was stricken and had to have it. Had to have it. Had to. I blame the Celtic Cross for the weakness that consumed me.

It was $50. I have never in my life spent that kind of money on any book let alone one that had no words inside. I picked it up, put it down, talked to the maker of the book, walked away, came back, picked it up again and then...I...

bought two of them.

I knew then they would hold all the first words, drafts, ideas, character profiles for my first novel. It took far more time than I planned but the journal now looks like this:

Finally filled from cover to cover, I think ready for an editor don't you? That would be amusing to send in a manuscript in this shape and then do one of those candid camera deals to see their reactions. Yeah, not so funny when they toss more than 2 years of work and a fine leather journal down the incinerator chute.

The scribbles above were completed the week I did NaNoWriMo in County Clare snuggled beside the peat fire in that most excellent petite cottage in Oughterard. Over the next year I put the mess together on my laptop. Twenty six chapters at first. Then I worked very hard on Chapter one (again) and braved sending it to six relatives I trusted  to give me REAL feedback, and they did. My novel was reduced to 20 chapters and no ending. all came to a screeching halt in April when farm needs outweighed so much else. The whole summer cruised past and I revised very little. But it nagged at me and it hurt my heart to think about my characters just fading away. I began to whine about the unfairness of it all to Keith who as always, listened well. I tried to write in the mornings, what a bust. Between customers, farmers markets, deliveries, phone calls, farm chores and that kitchen intruder constantly stirring sugar in his coffee with that little metal spoon, screeching against the cheaply made coffee cup and with each rotation peeling a few more frayed nerves from their synapses... I thought I would have to give up entirely. I mean really what was I thinking ? I despise mornings.

Then the spoon stirring guy said this...he attention this is really good...he said, "Why don't you write in the evening ?"

I was gobsmacked. Of course, why didn't I ? The farm store would be closed, the milk customers . whom I LOVE DEARLY, would be home making great custards and yogurts from our raw milk and the crazed bloke with the possessed spoon would be working hard outside doing evening chores.

Instead of filling those hours with Quicken entries or housework or meal prep...I could write.  I could, really. I checked and there were no laws or local ordinances against such. And so I did. For the last three weeks, we have moved supper time up from 9pm to 5:30pm and Quicken is done in the am. At 6 pm I head upstairs. In fact, I look forward to that 6pm bell all day. After two weeks it became a habit and I trusted it would remain a permanent pattern enough to rearrange the combo library/quest room/female GK room and make it my writing den.

My writers den is taking shape. With resources in one central location
excuses for novel completion are dwindling.

Major revision work has been accomplished (in the room and in the book) and of course much more is to be done but this is the most consistent  novel writing I have done since that week in Ireland in November 2009.

I can't imagine any of this would have occurred if that notebook had been covered in vinyl.


  1. I do love the look of your writing space! And the leather bound notebook is the kind of inspiration a writer needs. But did you ever get your elephant ears?

  2. Credit where credit is due please...that spoon stirring guy had quite the idea.

  3. It's what all writers need; a good tidy study.

    What's Quicken? Some farm management system? Is there a Slowen?

  4. Woman, you've done it again. I. Died. Laughing. You ARE a great writer!! PM me sometime and let me know--I can start bugging friends who have friends who are publishers. I mean, this IS the only good thing about NYC--publishers and publicists are everywhere! :)

  5. Love those book! Wow. I want one... xo Jen

  6. The writing space looks an awful lot like my office. Not that I'm anywhere near the point of writing a novel or anything like it, but when the urge comes, I'm ready for it.

    Spoon laceration guy has a lot to answer for.

  7. Well, of course you should finish your novel! You are an excellent writer, and I can only imagine the fabulous stories you can weave. Keep going!!!