Do Not Be Deterred From the Business!

I thought my West Virginia town would escape the big snow today. It started snowing last night and by midnight, all we had was a light layer of snow in yards and nothing on the roads and sidewalks.When I went to bed, I thought we’d escape with a light dusting, but I woke up to four inches of wet snow and it’s still snowing. My heart sunk. Honestly and really? We’re three days away from Spring and we’re due more snow on Wednesday. I just can’t think of it.

There was nothing to think about. Like a robot, I took my trusty blue shovel from its spot in the kitchen (because I’ve needed it more than you know) and headed outside to make a path for my dogs. I’m still hopeful and a little crazy enough to believe that this time, Sophie, my six month old Chihuahua puppy, would forget the snow and do her business outside. Ozzy, my six year old Pug, is a champ. He doesn’t let anything deter him from his business!

In my favorite white bathrobe and winter boots, I shoveled the sidewalk in front of my house and my neighbor’s. The wet snow was surprisingly easy to shovel off the sidewalk and it looked like it was melting. Hallelujah. Then, an idea began to take form. I was too cold to make sense of that idea, but I hung onto this embryonic idea as I set the shovel on the rug in the foyer to dry. I sat in the living room with a mug of hot tea and watched my Manx, Pierre, curl up in my corner chair. The snow, the rain, the sun, the clouds, nothing deters this cat from taking his naps and going about his business of keeping my house and everyone in it in line.

That was it! I could do this! I can “do” this perpetual snow because I’ve written a book! I could deal with another snow because I’d queried 100 agents in the last two years and I’ve opened email after email with that hope that this is the one only to find that it was a rejection. The same with the snowfalls this winter. I’ve kept shoveling and shoveling, hoping this was the last damn time and it would snow again.

Life and the Universe have equipped me (with a little help from me) to deal with the constant upheaval of bad weather, shoveling, and extreme snow because I’ve written a book. That has toughened me up. In my humble opinion, no one is as determined, persistent, tenacious, hopeful, and stubborn as a writer. It’s blood, sweat and tears (honestly) to write a book and to edit and edit until your eyes water. I’ve had to refuse fun invitations, not take the part-time job because it paid nothing and the hours would preclude me from writing, and I’ve spent thousands of hours alone in my head.

My historical fiction novel, A Decent Woman, is finished and it was accepted for publication by Booktrope. There’s still a lot of work to be done before my book’s debut, but I’m well on my way. The book cover is done and I am working with an awesome Booktrope team. A Decent Woman should debut this summer if all goes well.

Holding my book in my hands still feels like a long way off, but then again, so does Spring. So, Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you! We can do this!

Ellie

The Mind Games Writers Play

Boy, do writers play mind games with themselves to stay in the writing seat. I sure do. I’m trying to ignore the fact that the weather is gorgeous today. We have blue skies, a light breeze and mild temperatures. Normally, I can work through most distractions, but my Inner Child is alive and well today. After such a brutal and long winter, can you blame me for not wanting to remain indoors!

My dogs and I walked around the flower garden this morning and the daffodils are coming up. The Lily of the Valley are popping up near the ancient grape arbor and the peonies should be coming up soon. I inherited my love of gardening and mostly green thumb from my Puerto Rican grandmother, Meme who had the most beautiful garden in Ponce, Puerto Rico where I’m from.To make matters worse, last week, I bought a great greenhouse and trays of organic dirt pots to grow seeds in. It is taking everything I have not to bring that box inside from the trunk of my car. I have editing to do this weekend. I am ignoring the greenhouse because then, my editing and writing will be doomed for today.

Are you like me? Is it all or nothing for you? I get in those moods. Most days, I can write for nine or ten hours a day and if I don’t have a huge chunk of time the following day, it can threaten my creative mood. If anything on my every-growing to do list for my house crosses my mind, it can break the creative cycle, as well. I’m not allowing that to happen today. I’m nearly finished with the final edits of my novel, A Decent Woman. I promised Mindy, my editor, to send her a fresh copy of the manuscript by next Wednesday and I’m honoring my promise.

What else must we do to write without interruptions, distractions, and delays? Just do it. That’s the solution? Yep.┬áJust write through it ALL. Steal an hour or two to write and don’t give in to the censors and distractions in our heads. The dishes will be there tonight or tomorrow and Spring isn’t here yet. I have time for gardening later!

Okay, I feel better. My Inner Child is happy again. I don’t have to pull my hair out and stress my semi-organized house that could look better. All I have to do is show up to write. So simple. It’s not complicated, it’s ME who is complicating it all.

I do, however, have to color my hair. Some things just can’t be left for later.

Happy Saturday!

Ellie