from author’s website, originally published 4/2/19
It’s here. The launch of my debut novel Little Lovely Things! This is the moment I’ve been working toward for over ten years. If you open your window, you will hear me shouting with joy.
Hear that? It’s me.
I have previously written about holding the first advanced reader copy of my book, and how it was, in some ways, like cradling a baby before it was actually born. Now that baby has arrived! And while it has taken an enormous amount of time, I have nothing but gratitude for what I have learned during this journey, for the people I have met and grown close to, and how I now understand that creativity can truly be a force for change.
Based on the meandering path of my life these past ten years, this book should’ve never been written. Along with a busy career and family demands, which included relocating to different geographic areas twice, as well as putting two kids through college while ushering a third through elementary school and on to high school graduation, I somehow found time to write. And write. And keep writing.
I think of Claire, my protagonist in how she and all of my characters learn to fight for happiness in LITTLE LOVELY THINGS. Claire, although fictional, often comes to mind when I experience difficulty and need to channel her strength and resilience. I know that along with friends, family, and colleagues that have supported me along the way, she’d be thrilled that I am able to achieve my goal of writing and publishing a book.
In retrospect, I see how impossible it all was. Dauntingly impossible. I laugh now at some of the strategies I employed in order to keep focus on the big picture, especially when the end game seemed so far away.
Do you remember the Tom Sawyer story, where he made the chore of painting Aunt Polly’s fence so irresistible to the boys strolling by, of him lounging in the shade of an enormous tree, a gap-toothed grin visible under a straw hat, as a group of his friends toiled to whitewash Aunt Polly’s fence in the hot sun?
In many ways, I learned to use my creative right brain to fool my rational left side into writing when it was resistant. Think Aunt Polly after assigning what she knew was almost an impossibly huge task for mischievous and restless Tom. Now imagine this fence the size of, oh, let’s say the Great Wall of China.
I’ve never been to see it but I heard it’s visible from the moon which is proof enough to me that it’s a pretty daunting feat of engineering. This is how the left side of my brain viewed writing a novel. The only applicable word I can scare up is monstrous.
Moments of Focus
So, I learned to play tricks. On myself. Little things that over time added up. I fed colored paper into my printer using the ROYGBIV pattern, promising myself that if I stuck with it, I would end up with something surprisingly cool. And sure enough, after stacking a few draft chapters together, I had a rainbow when viewed from the side.
Using oversized sheets taped together, I traced character arcs and stuck them to my office walls. As my characters developed, they climbed up toward the ceiling above the windows and took a dramatic turn at the door. This mess was intriguing enough to keep my brain moving the story forward even as I was busy working the problems associated with my consulting business.
There were many long breaks in my writing schedule due to the necessity of life events. Resuming where I left off was always a daunting challenge. I heard a stentorian internal voice urging me to throw in the towel. This is when I developed my version of writer’s bingo. I grabbed some scissors and cut a bunch of my rainbow paper into strips.
I then wrote a question on each one – about plot or characters or anything related to the story. After folding, I placed them into a jar. When it was time, I reached in and grabbed my writing assignment for the day. The little prompts that felt like a bingo prize grab were fun enough to keep me going and the whole damn thing felt like a celebration in my office.
The self-trickery, the love of those surrounding me, along with a deep desire for self-expression; these were all ingredients that lead to this important milestone in my life.
The Moment is Here!
The mixture of emotions I am currently feeling veers from astonishment to gratitude to pure joy. While you probably can’t hear me shouting, I’m sure you are able to relate to the silly internal grin I’m carrying in my heart.
How about you – can you share a goal in your life that seemed difficult to attain and yet you found a creative way to achieve it?
Note: LITTLE LOVELY THINGS released April 2, 2019, and is available wherever books are sold.