Phew! Yee-ha! And a Pitiful Cry

I know life is made up of moments lived, not a series of goals and strivings, but I love how it feels when I get something done. Today I finished preparations for the course I’ll teach over the three-week January term. It’s hardly an adventure, more of a task, leading to a mere “phew” of satisfaction. The fun will come when I have students next week, new people with fresh ideas and thoughtful questions. I can’t have the fun, though, without the work.

With writing, the joys run backwards. Today I also finished the first satisfactory draft of the next Mae Martin mystery. I describe it that way because my writing process goes through so much ongoing revision and recycling that it’s hard to call anything a first draft. The moment of knowing that this is the plot that works and this is the ending is exhilarating, a big “yee-ha!” I dance quite a bit at this stage of writing, something I don’t do in my college office. I’m excited about revising the book, too, and sharing it with critique partners and revising it more. I even enjoy the picky details of word choice and sentence structure, of deciding what to cut and what to add, and experimenting with the best way to describe certain feelings and actions. It’s work that doesn’t feel like work, all the way to the final draft.

Getting sales and reviews is the work that feels like work. A book isn’t fully alive until it has readers, just as a planned-out college class is nothing until it has students. I have to do this work, but I look at Twitter and Facebook, trying to think of witty snippets of chat, and I shrivel. No, please, there has to be better way. My New Year’s resolution is stop whimpering and become a marketing genius without boring or annoying anyone. (That’s what would make me a genius.) I need to learn to dance with delight about filling out an advertising form, or at least look forward to the “phew” of having done it. Instead of just tweeting links, I will take up the challenge of composing something original and intriguing in 140 characters or less. Follow me on Twitter and see if I succeed. But don’t hold your breath. I’d rather be writing a hundred thousand words of fiction, or even next semester’s syllabus.

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3 thoughts on “Phew! Yee-ha! And a Pitiful Cry

  1. An amazing gift of timing or synchronicity! I just finished the two books I have been reading in rare increments of time when I’m not working on PRAXIS, TOEFL or SATS; now I can begin yours; I am also thrilled you have been successfully productive and have experienced joy in creating, You seem to have managed to overcome procrastination for other things. I just wish I had a little of your inspiration to continue my writing projects.

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  2. Actually I posted this resolution in order to make myself do those things I procrastinate. Marketing is my nemesis. It has no plot, no characters. I have to come up with a way to think of it as entertaining people and communicating with them. So, I haven’t yet overcome the procrastination yet, I’m just inching closer to doing so.

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    • I think your work and name speak for themselves; I have a friend in real life and time; she is on GR’s and has a book blog, but her marketing methods are so overpowering and part of each e-mail she sends and everything she writes; the recipient is overwhelmed by two techniques: all of her degrees and all of her over-marketing ploys. I love to read authors who are less overly zealous. I will send you some of my OCD issues and you can channel me some of your inspiration.

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