In February 2010, I received a Kindle as an anniversary gift. A long-time book junkie, the Kindle was the most perfect gift anyone could give me. A suggestion from Amazon.com led me to reading a book by John Locke that was so entertaining, I was compelled to write the author and tell him how much I enjoyed it. And he answered the email, and suggested I follow him on Twitter. Which I did, a bit reluctantly. I mean, what in the world was I going to do with Twitter? Not long after, I tweeted a congratulations to Locke for hitting a milestone with his work, and a few Indie Authors followed me. Which led me to wonder, “Who are these people?” Checking out their Twitter profiles showed me they were in fact Indie Authors. And checking out their product pages on Amazon led me to read, review and befriend Claude Bouchard, Barry Crowther and Russell Blake, all three of which began applying their boots to my backside when I mentioned I had been writing a book for several years about being adopted. Claude Bouchard has always very kindle read my work when I’ve asked him for his opinion, and has gained super-star status in my house as being the “Get-It Man!” for his cover of U2’s Desire, a video that when set on repeat, is the only thing on this planet that can get my youngest two children to sit still and be completely quiet. Barry Crowther became the first person to showcase my work by guest blogging me on his website twice, and became the person who opened the door to my becoming published the first time by helping me assemble, format and market my first book. Russell Blake has inspired the hell out of me with how prolific he is, and led me to meet one of the most impacting people in my life as an Indie Author, Dionne Lister, my podcast partner in crime on TweepNation, a woman who I’m certain I was separated from at birth what with our choice in children’s names and our gigantic aversion to toes.
Over the past year, I have stated, no less than ten times on-air (both on my podcast and on others), that I’d be finished writing “Searching for Ellen” within a week. And every time, I have missed the deadline. Which has led me to realize one important fact as an Indie Author.
Unless you have a deadline imposed upon you by your boss or a publishing house: Fuck the deadline, just write, dammit.
Hanging out with a friend recently, I made the comment to him that I needed to head on home so I could work on “Searching”. To which he responded, “What, you have a deadline or something?” If there is any deadline imposed on this book I’ve been writing for over twelve years, it’s the deadline I myself have slammed down on it. And while some people thrive with writing creatively when they have a deadline looming, I’m the exact opposite. Telling myself, “It has to be done by X date” only leads me to writer’s block.
Back in October, I told myself to give it until January 2 to start the beginning of the end of “Searching”. And that was the plan. Writing this book has been very emotionally draining for me, and I’ve had to learn the art of looking closely without getting sucked into the depths of the past, a lesson I will most likely be learning until my final breath. But somewhere in early December, I felt compelled to open that word doc back up, and I found myself tapping away at my keys with no way of stopping myself. The book itself took me over, and it was all I could do to just get swept away and go with the words as they came from my soul onto the blank page. And while I finished the first draft before the deadline I had set for myself to simply write the first draft, I began the task of writing the second draft on January 2.
Every word has been a struggle for me.
Hard enough to have hurts flying up in my face as I write it, it’s even harder to write with that self-imposed deadline looming.
And maybe, I put the deadline on myself for the reason that I need an end to this. Because there was a small measure of healing that took place when I finished the first draft. There will be a larger amount of healing that takes place when I finish the second and email it to my editor. And it’s my hope that publishing my story, putting those words out there into the universe for all to read if they so choose will heal me even more.
At the very least, I need to remember what my distant cousin Sir Winston Churchill said when it gets almost too much to bear: When you’re going through hell, keep going.
Love and light,