Thursday, April 16, 2015

Don't Worry About the People

Several years ago, I told people I was writing a book. I told people I knew, and I told people I didn't know. This was my way of making the project real to myself and holding myself accountable to the project. Everyone I told was happy for me. Some of them said, "That sounds like a good book." I said, "Thank you." Some of them said, "Let me know when it's published and I'll buy a copy." I said, "Thank you." I did not bother to explain to those people that actually writing a book and getting a book published are two completely separate and different, although equally overwhelming, tasks.

I worked on my book diligently for about a year after telling people about it. It is a memoir, so I did research and I regularly spent time writing down memories and observations about my past. I did a hitch with NaNoWriMo and came out of it with a 30,000-word first draft that is more outline than coherent narrative. Since then, I have worked on the book in pieces, and actually gotten one tiny piece of it recognized and published online. All of this is good. The process is slower than I imagined it would be when I was telling people "I'm writing a book," but it is still good.

Sometimes, I worry about the people and what they must think. I told them there would be a book, and I have not produced a book. Do they think I'm a liar? A fraud? A braggart? Actually, they probably don't think much about me or my book at all. They are busy thinking about the declarations they have made and the lack of results they see in their own lives.

I tell myself, "Don't worry about the people, and don't worry about the process." Some mornings, I wake up slowly, thinking about the book and forming sentences in my sleepy brain. I get up and write the sentences down on an index card. Those are good times. If I am lucky and diligent, those moments will add up and make a book happen one day. By then, the people I told probably will have forgotten all about it. So I'll tell them I wrote a book, and they'll say, "Congratulations!" and I'll say, "Thank you."


  1. Yup. :-)

    Hoping to make it to the play fest, will keep you posted! xo

  2. At least you spend time on it! I struggle with actually sitting down and working on one of my stories. I'll wake up with ideas, think about them a while, and then file them in the back of my mind in favor of the daily drudge. I'm probably avoiding it because I know there are entire sections I want to scrap and rewrite, plus I've reached the point where I would need to reread it because I haven't looked at it for so long. What can I say? Daily life enables the procrastinator. At least I know I will get back to it some day, because the character still talks to me.

    All this to say you are right. Don't worry about the people. The fact that you are doing it--that you have a first draft--is impressive. It wants to be written, and so it will be!

    Peace and Laughter!

    1. I agree that we avoid because we fear the work involved.I'm glad your character still talks to you, and I hope mine keep talking to me.


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