Thursday, September 06, 2007

Let It Go

Blogging is one activity I enjoy, and yet find it's at the bottom of my list most days. I suppose if one intends to journal, then one must keep at it on a regular basis in order to secure a following. Or something like that. But I've forgiven myself the past few weeks from my absence on the web. I'm rather exhausted, and exhilarated at the same time.

I've been talking and blogging about my novel, the writing, editing, and daily work of it for ... I guess a couple years now. If you could see a play-by-play of my effort, you'd say I wrote this book like a mule: keeping my eyes on the ground straight ahead of me. The past three years I have put the novel before just about everything. It's been that important to me. Oh sure, I've taken time off to finish Southern Fried Women and to promote it, but what you didn't see were the hours I spent behind the scenes on Televenge. And then, of course, the past year has been full steam ahead to the finish line.

I think writers need breaks, need to stay mentally healthy and alert, they need time away from their work to go back to it with a fresh perspective. But I also think we can find every excuse in the book not to write, if we choose to. The creative process in a writer is, to me, a chemical balance that must be carefully monitored. One can only take so much time off, be away from one's work for so long before the muse begins to thin out and fade from view.

It's a hard call, then, to spread yourself out between family obligations, play time, exercise, vacation time, working on your house (or getting one, in my case.) The drive to succeed is a powerful force. Combine that with the drive to see your life's work completed, sold, and in print ... everything else takes a back seat. It's just that simple. Why do writers torture themselves with this drive, I wonder. Some say our priorities are all screwed up.

I suppose that might be true. And one might never understand how we can allow ourselves to become so innately obsessed with something so unpredictable as writing a novel. (Unpredictable in terms of success, that is.) Yet, when you're called ... ahhh, that's different.

Where I came from, the fires I've walked through, the life I've lived, has made me who I am. I could never have written this novel, otherwise.

I spoke today to a group of women in Concord, NC. A networking group called, Ewomen. Lovely ladies, and a couple handsome gentlemen, who came to hear me talk on the subject, Is there an author in you? So many are wondering about writing books these days. Self-help, how-to, business-related books that sell off the shelves like Tylenol. I covered the basics of writing, publishing, and promoting in about 20 minutes. Enough time to either whet their whistles or motivate them to move further into the process. A successful bunch, this Concord group was not only receptive, but warm and friendly.

It took me away from my desk for a few hours of needed relief from the final tweaking before sending this big, fat novel off to agents. I swear, this is almost as bad as sending your five-year-old off to school for the first time.


But, like the first days of kindergarten, I knew this day would come. You can only tweak it so much, edit it so much, read it only so many times before you finally have to say ... enough. And let it go.

And then I'll put my nose to the ground and begin plowing through the next book.

One day at a time.

Blessings to you and yours.

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