So this is how my dear friend J began our conversation the other day.
“Okay, now my mom told me not to tell you, but–”
Egad! That is a scary start. I sat ramrod stiff and waiting for the scoop. A little part of me wanted to squeak, “well, if she didn’t want you to…maybe you shouldn’t?” but most of me was already paralyzed with fear.
So since I was already in squeak mode, I did. “What? What? Tell me!”
(Which you will note was not my original intention.)
“She wants to know if you’re going to finish this book before she dies.”
Ah. “I trust she is in good health?” I ask.
“Just step on it,” J answers. (I paraphrase. Well, perhaps she was loads kinder and more understanding, and perhaps she also stressed that she and her mom are merely anticipatory and supportive. But, hey, as the writer *cough*, I do get to fictionalize. Right?)
Now, my dear friend J’s mom–who is dear in her own right, and a right comedienne and all-round smart and dear sort–is not the first person in recent days to basically wonder when I’m going to finish this book.
I think the time has come to set a deadline on myself. At least for the completed first draft. I’ve gotten a bit lazy; many evenings I have been reading rather than writing or taking notes. I’ve gotten to the point where I have so many notes in my journal that aren’t yet in the book that just transferring the sketches/notes is a serious bigtime job. And moreover, you know, the book’s long…not for a book, per se, but in comparison with anything else I’ve ever written before (I think my thesis was 60 pages, and that was over a decade ago) and I’m realizing how much editing will be in store once I finish the story.
My point is–there’s a lot of work left and a lot of imagination and creation before I finish my first draft. And my approach has been “slow and steady” but I’m thinking it’s time to push.
That’s my plan. Shall I add a timeline? A challenge to self?
Very well. I shall finish this draft — wow, you don’t know this but I just took about 5 minutes of angst-filled staring and backward math — by December 15.
I know, I know! I should say “this summer.” I should. How about I am to finish the draft by the end of summer, but we all realize I am lying through my teeth, which are, by the way, dropping out in fear.
No, no–second thoughts. I should pick a meaningful date. Hm.
Deadline Goal shall be August 12, a date which makes me think of lions and basketball and growing up.
Deadline No-Matter-What shall be December 27, which of course means that on my birthday I will be done and can sleep the sleep of the damned. I mean the exhausted. Or I can be like the little piggy and scream all the way home.
🙂 I think I’ve terrified myself to shreds. I have to go, friends and cohorts. I have a book to write.
Despite being taken on the 100% scariest day of my life (July 4, 2008, in case you’re wondering), this shot reminds me that what doesn’t kill me is photographed and perched atop my armoire to remind me how great life is.
Err, no. What doesn’t kill me is, well, fortunate for that reason, at the very least. 🙂
Was it Eleanor Roosevelt who said you should do one thing that scares you each day? Well, count me among the terrified. Gotta dash, grab little piggy and go write! 🙂