I promised myself I’d have the second book in my Three Wise Men trilogy finished, first draft by end of November. This didn’t happen, but for reasons I had to live with – in other words outside my control. Alright then, I reassured myself, you can finish by end of December. Guess what day it is? I have 6,000 words to go!
A promise to oneself is like putting money in the bank, as Stephen Covey would say. If you keep breaking promises, you keep taking money out of the bank, and eventually go broke. I can relate this to my concept of energy. I am pure energy, part of the Great Whole. If I make a promise, with the pure intension of keeping it, I put positive energy into the world. If I fail to keep the promise I feel guilt, self blame. In other words I put negative energy into the world.
When I fail to meet a deadline, I have the capability of making, it’s like stabbing a knife into your sense of self. Integrity is everything. We must not toy with it. I know all my readers who loved Climbing High are waiting for Josh’s story. I posted on Face Book I would complete High Ground by December 31. “It will happen,” I proclaimed. I had five days to write 30,000 words, but first I had to go back in, reconfigure the plot, immerse myself in the story, and insert scenes I’d written in bits and starts over the holidays.
I’m down to the last day, and squared up with my promise. It’s looking pretty determined to take me out, hands already squeezing my throat. This promise won’t get a victim today. Writing 6,000 words, while packing for a trip and closing down one’s house and business is doable. So I will get off my shiny, new website and get to it. It will happen.
The main protagonist, Joshua in the second book in my trilogy, High Ground, has been quiet the last few days. I don’t think all my Christmas preparations impress him.
It always amazes me, when I’m three chapters into a book, how the characters demand to tell their own story. I’m working hard at bringing out the zen nature of Josh’s character. He believes spontaneity is the natural order and that in trying to do anything one destroys the zen and creates conflict. The harder I try to write his story, the more Josh shows me, even his zen serenity must give way to his feelings if he is truly spontaneous. He’s angry, frustrated and closing on desperate, as the woman he loves distances herself.
Janice (Jazz) has already taken control of her story. I’ll have one plan of action and she forces me to take a different route, shows me what she would do in that instance or how she would react to one of Josh’s actions. Jazz is determined not to let feelings get in the way of doing her job, which is keeping Josh alive till his assassin is identified and caught.
This morning I woke with him yelling “enough” in my head. He’s tired of his routine being interrupted, of cooperating at the expense of his peace of mind. He’s re-claiming his life and wellbeing by rebelling against Jazz’s rigid schedule of training, briefing, acting the lover when the real acting is not to show her how much he loves her.
I too am yelling “enough”. I let health issues, travel plans and Christmas musts interrupt my writing. The cold slowed my productivity to a trickle then froze it. I missed my end of November deadline. I do not react well to letting myself down. Now I have five free days from Christmas to New Years to finish this story. Twenty thousand words. Josh wants it. Jazz wants it. I need it. It will happen.
This is a popular saying these days, and I use it myself. But, when I pause for a minute a look closer at it, I have to ask. “Does life really get in the way, or is ‘the way’ life?” I think back on when I sold my first category romance, many, many moons ago. I ended up with a bad back injury after another driver rear ended my car. The specialist ordered me to bed for four months. I used the time to write a book, lying almost prone, with my keyboard on my lap, I typed out the story of Star Bright and sold it to Zebra’s Lucky In Love line.
Then life got in the way. Zebra folded the line, and my next romance book lay dormant. We moved to Manitoba for my husband’s work. Health issues once again reared their annoying head. Change upon change hit my life, digging a hole that could slowly fill up with depression – or become the receptacle for greater opportunity.
Barbara Thrasher approached me about co-writing Smart Women. Success followed instantly with six publishers vying for the manuscript, national media jumping to attention. Macmillan Canada sent us across Canada on a media tour, and we crossed Canada two more times doing Smart Women workshops for thousands of entrepreneurs.
In the following years we moved back to Saskatchewan. I built a successful business around non fiction writing, publishing articles in magazines and newspapers. I also started my business, MAS Productions, delivering online writing courses, and teaching adult writing classes at the local college. Though enabling many writers to meet their publishing goals gave me tremendous satisfaction, it served as life ‘getting in the way’ of my writing.
I went into 2013 determined this would be a productive year. I would return to my writing and choose romantic suspense so I could write for sheer pleasure. Again life tried to interfere, as mid January two herniated discs forced me to put aside all the physical activities I loved. Several other health issues decided to insert themselves into my life and see what chaos they could cause through the year. Yet, I wrote Climbing High, sold it to The Wild Rose Press in NY, and also self published I Am That I Am, a book of my photographs and philosophy. Before January 1 of 2014 my second romantic suspense will be complete. Now, I can say, “If life doesn’t get in the way,” and give myself a way out. Instead I have learned, committing to those last 20,000 words is my life. It will happen.