From the day in March when I learned that Tim and I were going to become grandparents … through the turmoil of keeping our townhouse “show-ready” and searching for a new home, essentially erasing any thought of relaxation throughout the summer and early fall … and then the eventual need to acknowledge that not one but both of my writers’ groups were no longer viable … well, much of this year has been one long series of writer’s distractions.
Not that there haven’t been moments of surprise and delight and pure joy along the way. My brother and his family came to spend a real old-fashioned Fourth of July with us here in Bar Harbor — the first of my four siblings to visit. At a local conference last month, I had the opportunity to meet up with a bunch of writer friends I hadn’t seen since the last conference almost a year ago. There I also made a couple of new friends who were looking for a group of kindred spirits with whom to gather regularly to discuss their work, and we have already enjoyed our first rendezvous. Even the house-hunting process delivered a happy accident: after losing out on a house we thought was perfect, we have now designed an even better version of that home to be built for us on a positively gorgeous piece of property. And the buyers of our current home have agreed to allow us to stay on as tenants through the spring, until our new place is ready.
And somehow, at last, it is November.
Our granddaughter is poised to enter this world and inject such joy into our lives that none of us will ever be able to remember what life was like before her arrival.
The fun and exciting task of selecting the finishes for a brand new home is about to begin.
With the Halloween decorations already giving way to red and green and glitter, we are staring down the barrel at Holiday Madness 2016.
Did I say this writer’s distractions were over? Oh no, not by a long shot, my friend.
So how is it that I’m actually contemplating participation in NaNoWriMo amidst this craziness?
The truth, I now know without any doubt, is that a writer’s distractions are not temporary. They are ongoing and continuous, like waves lapping over one another in their race to reach the shore.
There will always be something: babies turn to toddlers, they have birthdays, they learn to walk, then run, then dance. There’s always something to work on in a house, new or otherwise. There will be joys and sorrows and days when it feels like too much effort to make it any farther than the coffeemaker. But I’m a writer. What can I do but push fearlessly, relentlessly against the incoming tide of distractions-without-end and just write?
So, to November … and getting back to being a writer again!
I had every intention of finishing my manuscript in 2015. After all, when I made the decision to dedicate myself to writing full-time, ten months still remained in the new year.
And yet here I sit, at the beginning of 2016, with a draft that is five, maybe six, chapters shy of being a completed story. The bones — and then some — are all there. The beginning has been polished to a fare-thee-well. The climactic scene, in one final twist of (what I hope is) shock and irony, is followed by a logical and satisfying denouement. Between the two lie twists and turns, subplots, clues, and red herrings. What’s missing are the last bits of connective tissue that will tie all that bone and flesh together into the recognizable shape that is a COMPLETED MANUSCRIPT.
Somewhere along the way I realized it. I should have (more…)
For Lent, I gave up excuses.
I decided to buckle down and write 500 words a day for 40 days. This would result in my manuscript reaching 28,000 words by Easter.
Here’s how that turned out…
There were nights (I write almost exclusively after dark) I would write 1,500 to 2,000 words and keep almost all of them. I would also write 1,000 words and keep just 800 – or fewer – of them. One night I wrote the most perfect 283 words – so perfect, in fact, that I shut down my computer and went straight to bed, denying my inner editor the chance to mess with such heartbreaking beauty. The next day, miracle of miracles, they were still perfect.
This morning, I looked over all I had made, and I saw that it was good.
But I did not see 28,000 words.
Maybe it’s because I’m a lapsed Catholic and not very good at giving up stuff.
But here’s the thing. (more…)
Maybe it’s grown into a tradition for this date, but here’s the update to last year’s December 11 post, “What a Difference a Year Makes.”
This Spring found us moving again, which is a story unto itself. But the Reader’s Digest version is that our landlord “surprised” us with the news that she had a buyer interested in the townhome we were renting – even though we had been assured the unit wouldn’t be on the market during the term of our one-year lease. As sometimes happens when your back is to the wall (“Oh my God, where are we going to go??”), we made a knee-jerk decision (more…)
Last December 11, I posted an entry in this blog in which I announced our plans to pick up stakes and live a life of freedom and travel and writing and photography – working from wherever life happened to take us. The reality – as is almost always the case – turned out to be just a bit different than what I originally had in mind. But 2010 has been a year of self-discovery and dream fulfillment, nonetheless.
In retrospect, despite the planning and logistics involved, it all seems to have happened while in a walking dream. Would it be a cliche to use the word “surreal”??
Tim and I did, of course, sell our home in New Jersey – in 32 days! – almost record time, based on the economic realities of the day. And with just 5 weeks between signed contract and scheduled closing, we did manage to find a place to live – 600 miles away – in just 5 days flat, and sell / donate / give away a lot of our excess “stuff” before packing up the moving truck and heading Downeast.
I know … it all sounds so easy, right?
But here’s the previously “untold story” of the big move … (more…)