Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Writing a book: the long-haul

A few people have asked me how my book is going, and I appreciate the interest/ accountability so I thought I'd share. Basically, it's at the forefront of the back of my mind.

Since leaving New Zealand almost 2 months ago I must admit I haven't had the chance to sit down with my manuscript. But I don't feel bad because I knew going into the move that I wasn't exactly entering a season characterized by tons of free time -- more like a season of trying to juggle 100 bowling balls. I was braced for the impact of moving across the world and it has been busy, but good.

I'm all about seasons, and even though I LOVED my kiwi season of waking up every morning, reading for an hour and then writing for 8 hours while sipping amazing coffee, I'm also appreciating this time of building my life in Seattle and letting the ideas in my manuscript simmer. This time is equally important and I'm hoping it will allow me to come back to what I've written with fresh eyes in due course.

A few days before I left Auckland I attended a webinar (at 5am kiwi time!) with literary agent Rachelle Gardner. I was hoping it would help me finish my book proposal so I could have it all wrapped up before moving to the US -- I was really putting the pressure on myself because I was afraid that after I got to Seattle & got a full-time job I wouldn't have any time at all to write. But instead of giving me a final kick on the pants, what I really got out of it was that in order to write and sell my book, I had to be in this for the long-haul. It wasn't about whipping something out in 6 months, it was about knowing that good things take time and I couldn't take this thing out of the oven before it was done.

Being in it for the long-haul is where I'm at with my book right now, but it also the mentality I'm taking for a lot of other other aspects of life: Seattle, jobs, starting a consultancy, etc. Instead of feeling the pressure to finish a book this second, this month or even this year I'm just feeling, "It will get there when it gets there." Not to say I'm going to let it go (I am going to keep prodding it along as much as I can, checking in daily with it!), but I also want to let the creative process take the time it needs. Just because the cake's not done yet doesn't mean it will never be.

Tomorrow Dan and I move into our apartment (!) and after that things are going to settle down a bit, I hope. I can't wait for some chunks of time to sit down, me and my manuscript, in the next month, but I'll just have to be patient.

What are you in it for the long-haul with? How do you stay patient when all you want to do is take that cake out of the oven but know it's too early?

{Image from etsy shop NanLawson}


Rachael Randal said...

Good to hear! Definitely worth waiting for.

Hope all goes well with the move tomorrow!


Shannon of ** Happiness Is...** said...

I feel the exact same way about my music. Definitely in it for the long haul. The music biz is so screwed up that instant gratification is just no longer possible. It's HARD being patient though! I'm excited for your book, but by all means, take your sweet time and enjoy this part of your life :) xo

Anne-Margaret said...

You know this is so not on the same topic really, at least not in the working on something aspect but this made me think of my relationship with MY Dan.

Never before have I had a long haul type relationship. There were some I liked to think were long haul at the time but deep down I knew they weren't. Now I find myself smack dab in the middle of one, a real one, and while sometimes I want to rush things, especially as marriage would greatly help us to be on the same continent but I know we are not there yet. It's just not time to take the cake out of the oven.

Sometimes patience truly is a virtue, as cliche and annoying as that can be!

Nadine said...

Good luck with your move!!

Writing a book is a long process but very rewarding. I'm excited for you to continue with it once you are settled!

alisha said...

Shannon, it IS hard being patient! I like the phrase take you sweet time - I think I will. :)

Anne-Margaret, sometimes you do just know that what you're working on relationally is indeed long-haul and not worth rushing. I felt the same way about my Dan and I'm excited for your guys' journey!

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