Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Between Projects: Reading Books and Cooking Vegetables

So my sweated/bled over manuscript has been sent out to my first First Readers, and the champagne and chocolate martinis have been drunk. Hooray. But now I’m faced with What To Do Next.

I don’t know what other writers do at this point. Some, like Stephen King, start right in on the next book. God love the guy. Apparently he writes 2000 words a day, every day, including birthdays and Christmas. Me, I need to give my mind a break. Plus there are all the nitty gritty things like cleaning toilets that I’ve put off and now are begging to be done. For example I’m sitting in my kitchen right now looking at a mound of papers spilling off my counter. Mostly these are college brochures stacking up for my son to sort through. But there are also movies and books to return, bills to pay, and another smattering of papers to sign, fill out, toss, etc. Then there are the other counters. And the other rooms (I just now noticed my Christmas dishes are still on display in the dining room. Also I’ve got a collection of candles on the table leftover from our power outage a month ago). These things will keep me busy for a while.

But I know myself well enough by now that cleaning alone (although necessary) is not going to cut it for me. In a few days my house will be spotless but I’ll be floundering, sitting in my pajamas at noon and putzing around feeling like there’s no point in my life and why am I not out there working a real job? Etc. It doesn’t help that this is the Cloud Season in Columbus. The gray and rainy days are relentless. They mock me when I’m not engaged in something productive. I NEED a purpose. And this purpose has to involve writing. Also some kind of goal helps too. One year I painted all the trim in my house. But now that's done. The point is I need something to occupy my time until the critiques of my first readers roll in and I can start Draft Three.

So here’s my challenge for myself during these potentially floundery weeks ahead:

1. I’m going to write every day. Something. Anything. Of course, every day I write my “Morning Page”—basically a journal of the junk that’s floating around in my head. I also resolve to write more on this blog. And I’ve started a project with my best writing friend, a back and forth middle grade novel with two points of view. (This is REAL writing, I suppose, but it’s not a daily thing because I have to wait for her to write the next chapter before I can write mine.)

2. I’m going to read more. Besides stacks of papers on my counters, I also have piles of books I’ve been meaning to read. This is the perfect time.

3. I’m going to work more vegetables into my family’s meals. I know this seems like an odd goal for a writer to have. But I’m also a mom and the primary cook in the family. Plus I’ve got all this FREE TIME now and I feel a tad guilty about the many chocolate chip pancakes I’ve served lately. I’ve got the latest Cooking Light magazine (also on the counter) and it features some interesting things you can do with brussel sprouts…

Which may make the kids yearn for the chocolate chip pancakes. I’ll keep you posted.

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