Monday, August 25, 2014

Doing the work

I get a lot of emails from kids and teens asking about writing a novel. They often say that they start out excited, but then they get writer's block and they don't know how to keep going.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could wave a magic wand and have the idea in our brain magically turned into a book without doing the work? I always have to tell them, as nicely as possible, there is no magic wand. There is only you putting in the time, writing down the words, one at a time, until the book is finished.

Lots of people love the idea of writing a book. But the actual writing of a book, not so much. Because it's writing down word after word, yes, but trying to do so in such a way that there is a compelling plot and characters you care about and pacing that doesn't bore a person to tears.

I think it's very important, early on, for wanna-be-authors to simply finish a book, no matter how bad it is. The first novel I wrote was not good. Oh, I suppose there were some promising pages in there, but the premise was odd and it just didn't work, overall. But finishing that novel proved to my ever-doubtful self that I could do it! Perseverance is a writer's best friend. You have to be able to keep going even when it's REALLY hard. A completed manuscript reminds you that the only way out is through. Keep writing. Keep plugging away. Every day, add words to the word count and some day, it will be a finished book.

For a long time I've wanted to redo my office. It's a mishmash of furniture that we've collected over the years, none of which was specifically purchased for my home office. Finally, this past week, I decided, it's time to make my office the way I want it to be. I spend lots of time in here, and soon the days will get shorter and darker, and it would be so nice if I had something light and bright and cheerful to greet me each day.

Just like writing a book, figuring out where to begin with a room makeover is not easy. But, as I've learned with my writing, the important thing is to simply begin. So I went out Friday and looked at furniture. I didn't find anything I liked. I came back and look online, specifically at Pottery Barn, knowing it was going to be expensive but also knowing there would probably be something there I'd really love. And there was. Thankfully, I got the desk and hutch that sits on top of it on sale. The downside is it won't be here for a month or so. But that's okay - I'm telling myself it will be worth the wait. In the meantime, there is plenty of work to do to get ready for its arrival.

Here's part of my office as it is now. The walls are darker than they look here - kind of a rust color. While it's pretty, I want something lighter. Peach? Lilac? I'm not sure - we'll see. Anyway, I've been going through stuff, figuring out what I want to keep and what I don't want anymore. It's not a fun job. It's work! A lot of work. Since I don't have Nate Berkus or someone else coming to my rescue and sending me off to enjoy a day at the spa while he redoes the room.

Here are some of the boxes I've packed up already, and there will be more before I'm through.

It is so much work! Packing stuff up and moving furniture out and selling and/or donating the furniture I don't want anymore. Picking out the paint color and painting the room (although my husband who is a really good painter will probably do that part).

But I know the only way out is through. Do the work, and there will be something cool to show for it when it's all done. What do you know...just like writing a book.

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