I've been absent. For the last two weeks my life has been a series of deadlines. And proofing. And editing. And all the other hats that come with being a writer.
Because of this project:
I confess, Marty (aka Martha Silano) and I have been working on this for over three years.
It started innocently, we'd meet for writing dates asking the other to "create a few writing exercises to bring with you..."
After a while, we had quite a few. Then we said, "We should make a book of these..." Careful what you wish for.
We each took 6 months and started creating writing prompts for ever day of the year. It took much longer than we imagined. We had similar exercises, we both referenced the same poem by Wendall Berry. We had to go back through each of these 366 exercises (yes, there's one for Leap Year!) and find the dupes, the mistakes, the not-working-so-well exercises.
But we did it and The Daily Poet, should be available in November.
I confess there is a lot of work on a project before you come to the ending point.
Remember that. Remember that when you are sitting at your desk writing, wondering, "Why do I waste my time?!"
Remember that before you click onto Facebook for instant gratification.
Remember that when there doesn't seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel, just darkness and you are feeling your way by the walls around you.
There will be an ending point.
I confess I cried this summer, had a mini breakdown involving me calling my good friend to say, "I can't do this anymore, I cannot look at this book for another minute, I want to throw it out the window. I'm sick of this, of being inside, of wasting my summer. This is taking forever."
This is taking forever can be defined as writer's purgatory, that special place where your book, essay, article, collection of poems, etc. is almost done, but isn't.
And all the details in creating a book (the ones that all your friends and family have NO idea about-- "I'd like to write a book one day when I retire..." --yeah, try it. Wipe three years from your life with your silk napkin, and call me in the morning) are happening, are feeling as if they are never going to be done and finished.
Writing a book is detailed work! And revision. Lots and lots of revision. And you end up spending a summer in purgatory while your friends are at the beach.
They are at the beach and you are taking one grain of sand and dropping it in a champagne flute.
But guess what?
It's worth it.
It's worth all the headaches and complaining. It's worth getting up before everyone else to write and finish your work. It's worth having to choose only your favorite people to be with because you just don't have the time to visit everyone. It's worth mini-breakdowns, small collapses at your laptop, rage fits because you forgot to save your file, or you lost your file, or you spilled a pot of coffee on your computer.
There will be an ending point.
And once your book is out it's out. No one can take that away from you.
It's like education. Once you have it, no one can take it away. Even if your book goes out of print, you have done your job-- you created a book and got it out in the world, you are an author. That title can never be stolen, taken away, lost, or misplaced. Once you have it, it's yours to keep.
Just like on Wheel of Fortune (in the early days) -- once you buy a prize, it's yours to keep.
So what are you writing about these days? What are your projects?
When you are in the middle of them ready to give up, remember, books end. It's a wonderful quality about them. They can't go on forever. And if they do, you have a series, lucky you.
But you can finish. You will finish.
Remember, there are many of us who go through all the aches and pains of writing, but the finishing part is the bandaid, the medicine. It's having the baby and forgetting the pain of childbirth. Or how for nine months, none of your clothes fit.
But it usually takes longer than 9 months. Everything takes longer than you think, my husband is known to say to me about once a week.
Know purgatory ends. Know books get published. Know Facebook (or surfing the net) will steal your time. Know if you just take it day-by-day, you can do this.
I confess three years was longer than I thought this would take. But it's finished now, just the final details and then it will be out.
And honestly, I'm glad to have been part of it.
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