On Saturday, I sent the last chapters of The Writing Group Survival Guide off to my critique group. (You bet I’m sending the book through critique!) This means that in the past five months, I’ve written somewhere between 80,000 and 100,000 words.
It feels a little bit weird and a little bit…whew!
Now I’m not saying the book has been easy. (It hasbeen fun!) I’ve had lots of reading and research to do, and I’ve played a lot with the best ways to present and “voice” the information I want to deliver. But many of chapters do follow a basic structure (that I hope makes it easy for readers to jump in where they want), and that does make things flow a bit more simply and quickly than fiction. At least for me. 🙂
Still, yes, I’ve been working pretty hard the past few months. A deadline will do this to you, which I count as a plus. Because it showed me what I am capable of, when I need to be–when I am excited about and committed to a project. Once I get the critiques back and revise the chapters, I’ll be sending these off to my Writer’s Digest editor. And then, I believe, I’ll have some waiting time before I get comments and critiques back from him.
During that time, I want to apply the same excitement and commitment levels to my fiction. I’ve been spending some time with my current WIP–the historical YA novel. I’ve also started a few ideas for younger books–two picture books and a chapter book. So I’ve got plenty to work on during those weeks while the book is in Writer’s Digest’s hands.
So that’s half of the post title–the things we can do when we decide we’re going to. What about the second half?
Yes, well, I have worked hard on the book. And while I did, I managed, I think to keep up a certain, albeit low, level of maintenance on things like laundry, cleaning, and refrigerator supply. Other things, though, have piled up. Papers. Books. Dust. Miscellaneous-I-Won’t-Know-Till-I-Start-Digging. I definitely had to push some of those daily or weekly tasks onto the back burner.
I know–it’s not like I minded. These chores aren’t exactly my favorite way to spend time. But after a while–and you all know this–it starts to feel as though the piles are getting too high. As though they’re sort of leaning in on you from the walls, threatening to tip just a little too far and come crashing down on your head. Yes, I’m speaking metaphorically, but here in California, you never know!
So, this week, while my chapters are with my stupendous critique group, I’m taking the edge off some of those piles. I could still be working on little pieces of the book–I have a few introductions to write and some worksheets to develop. But I made a conscious decision to take a break from the book and get my house back in order.
Today, I cleaned up shelves in the living room that were, literally, overflowing. I’m not much of a cook, and I have the Internet, so 98% of the cookbooks are gone, and the others are moved into a new set of shelves just off the kitchen. I got rid of the binders in which I’ve been storing recipes I mightuse someday and typed the ones I really want to keep (my mother-in-law’s meat pie, my great-grandmother’s sweet & sour meat & cabbage) into software and put the printouts into ONE FOLDER–with the last of the cookbooks. I moved out stacks of junk and got the rest of the things that need be on the bookcases neatly organized.
This afternoon? I’m on MP3 and Pandora these days, for music. So I’m getting rid of the CD player that never worked, moving my CDs to one of those I-Can’t-Reach-the-Darned-Thing-Anyway shelves, and opening up space to get my writing books better organized.
What have you pushed away for so long that you’re actually looking forward to tackling it? Or at least to having it done? 🙂