Wednesday, June 7, 2017
My Dear Sillies,
For the past week, I've been away. Imagine getting a flat tire in a small town wherein you have no phone signal and there's no auto shop. In other words, it's been a long day. I'm home safely now, so all's good. And it was worth it - I was at a very nice writer's conference in the northeast corner of California (Modoc County).
For now, let's travel to a memory . . . With notebook in hand, I entered Pete's for our weekly writer's group meeting. What started as a group of eight had whittled down to three. At that time (approx two years ago), I'd just finished my first draft. I floated with an insecure confidence: Maybe undoubtedly or probably iffy and/or certainly I was possibly onto something worthy. My loyal writing buds would definitely see me through.
We sat at a small table in a downtown coffee shop for the usual discourse.
"I need to tell you both," Pamela started, "I can't do this anymore. It's taking too much time. I have too many emotional things going on with the family, and the job, and my life's a mess. But I want to see your book, Robyn, when you've made all the corrections and polished it."
You're dumping me now? Sure, buy my book when it's published. For you, $100. An extra $50 for my autograph. "Well I guess I understand," I responded softly, verging on tears, "but I'm really disappoint---"
"Yeah, actually," Neil interrupted. "If Pamela's leaving the group, there's no sense in only the two of us continuing." He proceeded to state that my story didn't work and he was tired of reading it.
"Why would I sit here and be criticized when you're both bailing on me? I have a book to finish." I grabbed my things, and stomped out.
Writing paralysis struck and stuck for months. Pamela and Neil had become very close friends. Shock and despair mixed with utter insecurity about how to proceed.
Months or a year later, I don't know how I finished but I do know why: Perseverance. That's the key ingredient, right? Nothing else matters nearly as much.
This brings us to the present: Last week Acorn Publishing recognized Woman on the Verge as MEMOIR OF THE YEAR (for 2016)! See seal on left side bar. Yippeee! I'm eternally thrilled and honored.
So my dears, PERSIST -- whether it's completing a novel or essay, or finishing a NY Times' crossword puzzle (I have much more luck with the former). Take breaks. But keep faith that you'll get there eventually. Unexpected rewards await your arrival.
Be good to yourselves, my friends.