Friday, December 10, 2010

The Christmas Bully

After a meeting, a coworker asked, “How’s the book coming?”
“Well! We just went through chapter 26 last night at the critique group.” I had to take a deep breath to keep from gushing. “We’re so close to done!” I allowed myself an unworklike-atmosphere squeal.
“So how many chapters will there be?”
“We figure about 32.” This time the squeal was internal and sounded a bit like a child on a WHAM O Slip N Slide.
We are THIS CLOSE (picture me holding my fingers up, about a quarter inch apart), and I’m PUMPED. A year ago we didn’t know if we could finish it. Six months ago, we didn’t know if the structure could hold the weight of the ending. Six weeks ago, the ending didn’t appear on the blueprint.
But it does now. This weekend we hammered out the last of the details, and now all that’s left is the writing.
And it’s the Holidays.
November and December make writing difficult. Our attention is so many places: work, parties at work, how to get your work done AND go to the parties, how to get caught up. The garbage we eat this time of year (and by we I mean I) totally saps our energy. All of this is followed by collapsing at the end of the day exhausted. On the couch. With a bag of potato chips, because you (again, I) don’t want to cook a real meal.
But of course that’s not all of it. There’s the baking, the shopping, the wrapping, putting up the tree which takes FOREVER, dragging it out of the attic, reading the instructions, putting the limbs in the wrong place and starting over, lights that won’t work, broken ornaments to vacuum up, ad infinitum.
So when are we expected to write? Realistically, can we get this novel done and be sending it out to agents by April 1? That was the date I figured we could hit if we stuck to one chapter every two weeks.
But I didn’t figure in the Holidays, the demands of family, and the demands on your energy.
Or the demands of your writing partner (and again, I mean me).
Larry needs a break, not only because of the season, but because I’m a bully. I shouldn’t push others the way I push myself. He and I are so much alike that I forget we have some very dramatic differences; primarily that he has far more family responsibilities than I do.
So for the Holidays, I’m going to lighten up. No more bullying for me. I plan to chill out, have some eggnog, turn on Sinatra, snuggle up on the couch with some hot chocolate…
Okay, who am I kidding? I don’t know how to lighten up, never have, and I don’t like eggnog. I’ll keep writing when I can find the time.
But no nagging. That’ll be my Christmas gift to Larry.
It’ll be a challenge, but I think I’m up to the task.
Maybe. Check back in January.

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