Blog Posts, Gayle's Gazette, Uncategorized

Writing Deadlines

When I started my journey to publication, I had no idea how long it would take to write a novel. Seeing as I’d never written a full-length manuscript before, what did I know? Since the story percolated in my brain for years, it came out quickly. Only took me three months. My second manuscript took faster. Eight weeks. Now, as I sit down to write my third one, I want to keep that same pace: eight weeks. And here’s the thing––no one, except for me, is imposing these deadlines. I’m the only one with such expectations.

How I Calculate The Goal

I determine my completion date by taking my proposed final word count and dividing it by how many words I’d like to write per day (like when life doesn’t get in the way, like when I can write solidly without any interruptions). That gives me the number of days it would take me to write. Then, I divide that number by five (days per week to write), which tells me how many weeks it should take. On paper, right now, it looks like I could potentially finish the first draft in six weeks, eight weeks for sure if I adhere to a schedule. But that’s the problem.

Life Get In The Way

No matter how good my best-laid plans look on paper, they never come to fruition. Life always gets in the in. Drop-offs, pick-ups, my daughter’s golf matches, doctor appointments, and dentist appointments all interrupt my flow. Let me restate this again: no one else is imposing deadlines on me; I do it to myself. The problem becomes when I don’t reach a daily goal, thus putting me behind “schedule.” I get stressed. Really, really stressed. And for what? Why?

Broken Promises

After finding an agent, I promised myself I wouldn’t rush my next manuscript. Yet, here I am, calculating my end date, stressing. I already have two completed manuscripts that can go on submission. It’s not like I’m lacking for material to submit. A third manuscript isn’t necessary right now. But for me, it is. It’s how I operate. It’s how my brain works. I want to be ahead. Way ahead, so when (notice I didn’t say if––hoping by putting that out in the universe, it’ll happen!) I sell my first manuscript, I’m not pressured to have to write another one quickly. And there’s that word, quickly. If I don’t want to have to write one quickly, then why am I setting that as my standard?

Overachievers Unite

Yes, it’s because I am an overachiever. A perfectionist. Driven. Goal orientated. Type A all the way, which at times, can be a good thing, but not always. Sometimes, it causes undue stress like now. I’m looking at my calendar and sweating, wondering how I’ll manage to make my deadline with all my other commitments in between, the holidays sprinkled in as well. So why not just extend my deadline? Right! Exactly. It’s not like I have an editor breathing down my neck, telling me to turn in my work by a specific date. Instead, I have an overzealous boss. She’s setting these ridiculous numbers, silly expectations, impractical goals. Maybe you all can talk some sense into her. It’s not like I’ve had any luck!


Why It’s More Than Just Handwriting

I created a meme on my Facebook page yesterday making a joke about how today’s students do not know how to write in cursive (or read it for that matter!). It sparked a conversation as to whether or not cursive should be part of today’s curriculum. With all the state standards and core curriculum, teaching cursive has been kicked to the curb. But should it be?

I thought about this all day. I kept coming up with reasons to teach it as well as reasons not to. But in the end, I realized writing, actual handwriting, is so much more than just “writing”.

A few weeks back, I asked my aunt to pass along my grandma’s cookie recipe. I knew my aunt had kept my grandma’s cookbooks (more like bibles of culinary and confectionery perfections) after she passed. Mere minutes later, I received a text with the recipe. It wasn’t typed. It wasn’t from the internet. It wasn’t a page out of a bestselling cookbook. It was a hand written recipe from a long time ago. Like a really long time ago. Like who knows how long ago, but long enough, that the paper is wrinkled, torn, and yellowed.

When I laid eyes upon that paper, my world completely stopped. I mean it. It literally stopped. I gasped as my eyes filled with tears. Breath escaped me. In that moment, I was transported back to my grandma’s kitchen. I was standing next to her. Helping her. Baking with her. Making memories. I could smell her perfume, hear her voice, smell the sweet scents of each spice. I could see it all as if it were just yesterday. And I assure you, it was NOT the recipe itself that ignited the emotion. It was seeing her writing.

Seeing the curve of each letter, the slant of the print, the words one after another, it all evoked such emotion. It is more than just handwriting. It is a piece of her. A tangible part of her. A palpable memento. No typed recipe could incite such emotion. It just can’t. Although a typed note can bring back a memory, seeing my grandma’s writing 18 years later, is just an indescribable emotional feeling.

Typing, writing software, and word processing programs may all make writing seamless, more efficient, and more accurate, but it cannot replace the humanness of handwriting. It’s an art. It sparks emotion. It rouses feelings. It brings back memories. It’s more than just “handwriting”. It’s all encompassing and to me, after my experience, it is essential.

My Grandma’s Recipe