because life doesn’t fit in a file folder

I'm Going To Do a Book

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I have been writing a manuscript for almost 8 years.

When I write that sentence, it is only slightly less embarrassing than when I say it out loud.

Some writers pop out books every other year.

Not me.

I used to joke that I felt like I was giving birth to twin elephants; the gestation period for one pachyderm is 2.5 years so I allowed  time to double it; after all, when I started writing my book my son was five years old. He was active, building LEGO creations and dancing and leaving goldfish crackers all over the house. He went to school under 3 hours a day. The nap had evaporated. I had my hands full.

But here it is — seven years later — and I am wondering what is wrong with me? Why won’t this baby come out?

Kristen Lamb (author of We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer) once suggested it is possible for some writers to get stuck “rearranging the chairs on the Titanic,” and I wondered if she was talking about me.

Was I that crazy woman adjusting the furniture when the ship was going down? I could hardly bear the thought of my baby sinking.

Rather than despair, I decided to remind myself that I am surrounded by greatness, and I figured I’d plug some people who I know in real life who have written and published some good stuff.

1. Michael Wexler: The Seems • Young Adult

2. Pam Sherman: The Suburban Outlaw • Non-Fiction Essays

3. Cynthia Kolko: Fruit of the Vine • Fiction

4. Betsy Petersen: Dancing with Daddy: A Childhood Lost & a Life Regained • Memoir

5. Chet Day: The Hacker • Thriller

6. Steven Mazie: Israel’s Higher Law: Religion and Liberal Democracy in the Jewish State • Political Science

7. Jeffrey Hirschberg: Reflections of the Shadow: Creating Memorable Heroes and Villains for Film and TV • Film Theory

8. Victoria Wasserman: Damage Control • Fiction

9. Rebecca Etlinger: To Be Me: Understanding What It’s Like To Have Asperger’s Syndrome • Picture Book

10. Janet Goodfriend: For the Love of Art • Fiction

11. Wendy Vigdor-Hess: Sweetness Without Sugar • Cookbook

*SOON TO BE RELEASED!*

12. Rebecca Land Soodak: Henny On the Couch • Fiction • 

And if that isn’t enough, I also have some cyber-budddies who have recently landed agents after attending writing conferences, so I keep writing and telling myself my time will come.

So now I’m looking into getting my ass to a writing conference.

Stat.

All these people keep me inspired, as I try to remain optimistic that a book I have authored will — one day — make it on a shelf where I can see my name, written sideways on the spine, sandwiched between other legit authors.

That is if there are still bookstores with bookshelves by the time I’m done with this book that is sucking a piece of my soul.

Once I asked an author friend of mine about what I could do to help move my baby towards the birth canal.

She suggested that I stop whining and just push the kid out and see how he fares in the world.

I said he wasn’t ready yet, that he still needed time in the oven.

But she is right.

So I am dilating.

Seriously.

Right now I’m about 2 centimeters, and I need to move things along.

It is time to get this alien-monster out of my belly and into someone else’s laptop.

Okay, that was a metaphor fail.

What I’m trying to say is that I’m working hard on revising.

And when all is said and done, if my baby is dull or no one thinks my sweet thang is sparkly or bedazzled enough, well, I can bundle him up and tuck him in a folder called Manny Manuscript, age 8.

I can wax nostalgic about how much fun I had creating characters and setting and symbolism and sub-plots. I can laugh about how Manny kept me up at night and wouldn’t let me to sleep until I’d written down what he wanted me to say. I can talk about how much paper he ate, that crazy Manny.

But honestly, if Manny is never going to be a real-book, well… Manny has a sibling who has been patiently waiting to be born.

And maybe it’s her time now.

What keeps you inspired when you don’t feel like you are moving forward? More importantly, what is your favorite part of that video clip? And why do I want to throw the cheese?