I learned a little about the way I write this last week. I like juggling several projects at once right up until the irreversible moment when I hit terminal mental velocity. Then I drop all the balls and hide under the mountain of laundry piled on my bed, whimpering.
It turns out that I write query letters and synopses in a state of complete and utter distraction. To get in the mood to write something technical, which a synopsis is, I went through the writer’s version of a baseball player stepping into the batter’s box. Minus the loogies and the crotch grabs.
I skimmed books and websites to learn, sort of, what I needed to write. Then I got scared and thought about outlining Alien Enlightenment, but I don’t outline anything. So I researched angels and demons and time space continuums some more. And I drank way, way too much coffee and ate a pumpkin scone or two.
Then I started reading Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly and told my closest friends and about a thousand other people that they really, really needed to read it too. I even made a poster of the Teddy Roosevelt quote that inspired Daring Greatly. The first poster I made sucked, so I created a second one. Here it is:
I started the query letter.
• • •
A few more days passed. Every once in a while, I walked past the computer, glared at the query letter, and typed out a sentence or two. I ran many miles, celebrated a fifteenth Anniversary and whined, a lot. My husband told me I was doing a marvelous job and no, Cutie you’re not fat several times.
I skimmed, in no particular order, pages from a few more books on writing and several websites. I asked a few patient friends like Astrea Baldwin, Deb Bryan, Doug MacIlroy and August McLaughlin for tips, help and advice. Yellow leaves fell outside my window and the weather turned cold after a front blew through. I opened a document and titled it: Synopsis/Ripple/Farris.
Two more days passed.
I reorganized all of the books on my desk. More yellow leaves tumbled and danced and skated as they spiraled to the Virginia clay. I contemplated the seasons and tried to stop counting the acorns on the deck.
I folded the laundry, went for a run, and took a hot shower. Then I wrote fifteen words. Man I hope my husband isn’t still reading this because when he got home from work yesterday, I told him I had worked nonstop all day. I spent a half-hour whining on Facebook:
Help! I must finish this synopsis but it is as boring as writing a freakin’ legal memorandum. Ack! Groan. Wail. Teeth gnash. Fingernail nibble. Nervous pacing.
I wrote another fifteen words, ate a bowl of Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal, counted twenty-seven yellow pen-oak leaves float past, and whined for thirteen minutes. Just re-reading this makes me exhausted. A gust of wind brought a bombardment of acorns against the rooftop of our Dutch Colonial.
The laundry pile beckoned, but I resisted. It was time. My short, chubby fingers ran over the wireless iMac keyboard, lickety-split, staccato tapping echoing against a mosaic of alternative music. Sentences split, fragmented, then wove together.
Eight hundred and thirty two words and a week after I started, and the first draft is done. And now? Now I fold laundry.