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Ahhh, the joy of completion July 20, 2009

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Personal Observations, Uncategorized.
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I am appalled that I have not posted since April 19. However, I have a good excuse and as Ollie Bertorelli used to say–“A poor excuse is better than none.” I have been working on finishing the draft of my first novel, a herculean task as far as I’m concerned. I am now looking at each and every book I see with new respect. Someone found the inner fortitude to complete a book. And now, I have too–almost.

At this point, my novel is around 65,000 words. I have had a proof copy printed using CreateSpace (www.createspace.com) and I am just basking in the joy of semi-completion.

I started almost a year ago to the week by simply coming up with a potential plot, reading a book or two for background, and creating the main characters along with their names. That was the fun part.

Here’s what I have learned in the process–

  1. Writing a book is mostly about determination and the declaration that it will be completed. I once had a professor who had a PhD in English Literature. Her assessment about acquiring a PhD was that it was not so much about intelligence as it was about persistence. The same seems to hold true for writing a book. Sure, you need some talent at putting words on a page but if you don’t take a firm stand that it will be a completed book, you’ll never get beyond the wishful thinking stage.
  2. Doing the project in small chunks of time is ok. In fact, it is more than ok for me, it is the only way I can do it. I tried setting aside entire days for writing.  I found was that I was suddenly very fixated on getting my laundry started or the several emails that needed my immediate attention or that the wind was blowing outside my window in an alarming manner. The sum total of those entire days of writing was usually a scene or two but I could get the same amount done by devoting a small amount of time each day.
  3. Your house/apartment and all the any other long term tasks you need to do will wait and the world will keep on turning. In the process of writing my first novel (and probably the ones that will follow),  it’s very tempting to say wait until you have the perfect chunk of time in your day to devote to writing. Guess what, if you wait for that to happen your aspirations to write a novel will outlive you–never to be fulfilled.  A piece of advice–decide if you really want to write the novel. If yes, then get determined and do it. If no, then cross it off your list with no regrets and get on with the things in your life that you do want to accomplish.
  4. It’s mostly about putting your butt in the chair. This is a little like the above piece of advice–just a little more focused. You can’t get it done if you don’t put your butt in the chair. That’s the deal, plain and simple. Find a way to do that every day or every other day or whatever schedule makes sense to you. And allow the writing to haunt your thoughts if you are not doing what you committed to do.
  5. Find support. Some people are very motivated and need nothing outside of themselves to keep them going. If you are one of those people , I salute you. However, if you need a kick in the seat of the pants every so often, then find yourself some support. My support came in the form of a good writing coach (www.JenniferLouden) who offered small-group coaching. I also have three wonderful women, friends from Jennifer’s Writer’s Spa last summer. We have weekly phone calls and I have learned a ton of stuff from them. I also made declarations to them about my writing. When you make a declaration to others, it holds your feet to the fire ’cause you know you said it. A million thanks to Kelly, Anne and Karen!!! And we’re not finished yet.

Wow, this post has gotten really long. Hope it has helped you if you’re stuck or even just cowering in your boots at the thought of starting. If I can do this…well, you know the rest.




1. Jennifer Louden - August 26, 2009

Is it time to write again yet? i’m so delighted for you, that you did it! Now to put my own butt in the chair!

edgyangel - September 2, 2009

It’s now time to get my butt BACK in the chair. I have been mulling over the new project but so far no writing. I like to tell myself this is all prep for writing but at some point a little honesty about what I am and am not doing is in order…Probably time for a coaching session with Jennifer the wonder coach….:)

2. Kelly - July 21, 2009

Amara, the group reveled so in your printed book. Your dedication is so inspiring. Nothing beats that! Congratulations.

edgyangel - July 21, 2009

Thanks so much, Kelly…

3. Karen Talavera - July 21, 2009

I am so humbled to have been mentioned – thank you and right back at ya!
I love that you said “allow the writing to haunt your thoughts” if you’re not doing it. During a several-month break from my blog, that is exactly what has happened and I enjoy the haunting. I use it as a pre-writing/mental writing or percolation process to generate notes, outlines, or insights I capture to use when I finally have time to sit down and write. It’s true, nothing is wasted. I enjoy the haunting – and my advice to other writers is to do the same. Don’t let it turn into baggage – instead, use it to keep yourself accountable. And yes, having our group helps with accountability too!

edgyangel - July 21, 2009

You said that so well, Karen. And I think, as you point out, that the haunting is in itself a form of processing. It seems when I sit down after that, the ideas flow easily–something writers celebrate..
thanks for the comment and for being a part of my ‘posse.’

4. edgyangel - July 20, 2009

What’s really scary is when you get to the point that you feel something is missing if you haven’t been writing. Never thought I would get there but since I am on a small hiatus because the draft is finished, I have found myself thinking I really should (and want to) be writing. Thanks for the comment….

5. Laura Best - July 20, 2009

People would often ask me how I found time to write. The truth is you make the time. Just like you said in your post you put your butt in the chair and yes all the other things can wait. If writing is important enough you make time.

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