When 400 Words Are More Than Enough

Confession: I haven’t written anything substantial since early December. What happened? My first book released.

Jules, you ask, why is this a problem?

Here’s why: nothing eats time like a pending book release, especially when that book is your debut novel. Debut authors don’t know what to expect, so we spend a lot of time trying to do everything, even things that won’t matter in the long run. Mostly, we wring our hands and worry we’ve forgotten something hugely important, unaware that the thing we’ve forgotten is TO WRITE MORE BOOKS.

When I was writing my hella good novel, nobody told me there’d be a cover reveal, for which I would have to create trivia questions and homemade prizes. Nobody mentioned a book trailer, either. Luckily, Pinnacle Studio 18 only took THIRTY HOURS to master.

My edits arrived in January. For a February release. No problem, I’m a clean writer. I burned a vacation day anyway, just to be sure I didn’t miss anything.

Release day arrived early. I sure didn’t expect a pre-order option! I made the announcement before I was completely ready, and my supportive family and friends hopped on the bandwagon. My novel soared up the ranks. I felt like a star.

Whew! Now I could go back to doing what I love – writing!

Only I didn’t.

I started tracking my sales on Novelrank, which isn’t even accurate. I obsessed over my Amazon rank by checking it every few hours. Doing this is like a dieter checking her weight every few hours. It’s pointless! I did it anyway.

Why wasn’t I selling 10,000 copies a day? I grew depressed and spent my evenings watching Netflix and eating cheese puffs. And checking my Amazon rank some more.

Common sense said I had to get back to my writing. I’d left characters I love with only 37,000 words on the page. They were counting on me to finish their story. I needed a large block of time to get back in the groove, the one thing my full-time job 35 miles away denies me. I’ve tried getting up early. That just makes me bitchy. I’ve tried writing through my lunch hours, but no one lets me alone unless I go to my car, which means I either freeze or roast, depending upon the season. You wouldn’t let a puppy in a hot car – why let a writer in there?

It doesn’t help that my job as a legal assistant is extremely stressful. I take a lot of abuse. A lot. By the time I make it home, any desire to write something beautiful has faded into memory. There’s still dinner to cook, and after that’s accomplished, all I want to do is drop into bed and read someone else’s masterpiece.

Today was THE DAY, the first Saturday I’ve dedicated solely to writing in a long time. How did it go? Not great. I wanted to rise at 7:30. Thanks to the recent time change, I slept until 9:30. I had to mail my taxes today, which meant asking the postmaster for return receipts, since there weren’t any on the counter in the lobby. It took her a few minutes to find some in a cabinet. Just as she handed them to me, a girl walked into the lobby. Being nice, I suggested the girl go ahead of me while I fill out my two cards. That was before I realized she was there to mail five packages, including a box going to Australia.

I had a bank deposit to make. Tomorrow is my Sunday to supply communion bread at church, so I had to go to the store.

By the time I made it to my writing desk, it was noon. My husband—who had promised he would spend the day at a local antiques store—got a late start, which meant Mister Irish Tippy Toes made about thirty trips past me on his way to the kettle for tea. I moved to the bedroom four hours later, still struggling with my first paragraph, when I heard the refrigerator open . . . and stay open. All I could picture was this:

fridge

* S I G H *

So, off to the kitchen I went. An hour later, he was chowing down on stuffed peppers, and I was writing again.

It’s now 9:51 p.m. I can finally announce that after a three-month hiatus, I have completed a scene. It’s only 400 words long, but sometimes, 400 words are more than enough.

Fiction That's Plaid to the Bone

Posted in Writing

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