My gorgeous workspace in Bari, Puglia, Italy.
Anyone ever read Postsecret? I have only read excerpts here and there. The secret I would put on a postcard to mail to a stranger is that I want to be a writer. Why is this a secret? Mostly out of anxiety, I think. If I say it out loud to people who know me, I risk becoming a cliche, the amateur who has a manuscript in the closet somewhere. Or the narcissist who believes she may actually have talent.
Then, a number of years ago, someone I spoke to while blogging challenged me to do NaNoWriMo, the month-long writing marathon. So I did it and wrote a 50,000 word novel. And the next year I wrote the sequel. Then I procrastinated. And became the cliche writer with the manuscript moldering in the metaphorical closet.
I workshopped the novel once at a conference and got good feedback but not the feedback of my fantasies. And I procrastinated again.
During this time, I had one fan, my younger son. He was proud of me. So proud he nagged me for years to finish my novel. He had it all figured out. It would be published by Scholastic books, of course, since I had written a Middle Grade novel. He even took a draft to his 8th grade classroom and the teacher read it out loud. The kids loved it and wanted more.
And still I procrastinated. Until last year. My son had spent the past years nagging me to get back to it, so I did. Last summer, I workshopped the book again. And the instructor, a successful children’s author, suggested I look for an agent. I resolved to complete one more revision and made a plan. I would create a sabbatical, a month-long leave, revise, and start the query process.
I rented an apartment in Bari, Italy, for the month of February. To do this I needed to be away. Otherwise I might not ever start. And if taking a winter month off, why not do it somewhere warm. A month in Italy turns out to be about the same cost as a month in Florida or California and much tastier.
My month is now over and I’m home again. The procratination disease has flared up what with work and a very sick cat I am taking care of. Since this post is getting long, I’ll finish here and recount what I did accomplish next post. Unless I procrastinate on that too.