“You have to write the book that wants to be written. and if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” – Madeleine L’Engle
This may ramble a bit, but here I am…messy, hot, awkward, a bit off kilter, and oh so full of honest imperfections.
My blog is called Drunk on Love in the Kitchen. I have written over a hundred posts in the past two plus years that range from the chaos of family to my adoration of pie. My goal when I first began writing on a semi-regular basis was to discover my voice. I have stumbled more than gracefully glided, but I’ve worked to regain my shaken composure along the way.
What am I trying to say here? I am beginning to admit that, yes, I am a writer. It still feels clumsy. I often pause when asked if I’m a writer. Me? You talking to me? Gulp, well, yes, I’ve written a few things. I used to be a teacher. Oh, now I’m working on writing. I have this silly blog. I’ve written six articles for a local magazine, and I have actually received real money. Damn. I guess I am a writer.
A month ago I was subbing in my old school. At the end of the day I was talking with one of my former students when she asked, “How’s your book coming along?” I looked at her. “You know, you talked about writing a book when you retired. How’s it coming?” I replied in an apologetic way. “Oh, I have this blog and I’ve written a few articles, but the book is still in my head. Blah. Blah. Blah. Yada. Yada.” Shit, I thought, as I left that afternoon. That young woman called me on my crap. I talk about a book, but the demons surround me like Death Eaters. How do I even begin? Do I really have that kind of talent? What if I suck at it? I’ll never be Steinbeck or J.K. Rowling. Am I just a fraud?
There I stood naked and shamed, forced to question my stupid excuses. If a book is my goal, why not start working on it? Damn the torpedoes and blast my fucking procrastination right out of the water. I immediately signed up for an online novel plotting workshop and another short course that requires me to see myself as a writer. Every morning I read, write, and contemplate this novel brewing in my cloudy imagination. I look at it as a journey with no real map. I’m following my instincts and plotting where my characters lead me. Now, I’m still in the pre pre pre planning part of this thing. Soon, perhaps in November for NaNoWriMo 2016, I will be ready to begin that shitty first draft, as Anne Lamott calls it. As cliche as it may sound, I will never know how it all ends up unless I write it.
So that is what I am doing…working on plotting my shitty first draft. The blog has been a bright, yet educational distraction. Squirrel! I will still compose an occasional post when my annoying muse knocks me over with a storm of inspiration. It is just now I am concentrating on something else…another shiny object that will require patience, daily work, lots of coffee, and squeezing semi-coherent thoughts out of my funky brain.
So, thank you, Caroline, for guiding me toward my Ah-ha moment. My life changed with your question, “How’s your book coming along?” By this time next year I’ll have an answer for you.