In his book, On Writing, Stephen King tells us that he produces a first draft over the course of one calendar season. We’ve all seen the length of some of his novels and that’s after he’s shaven off about ten percent. To accomplish this type feat, I expect Mr. King is able to stay focused. He probably doesn’t choose summer as his draft writing season while living by a lake, having family and friends visit, tending a garden and attending out of town weddings and fun-filled barbecue weekends.
Summer visitors have hauled their suitcases up the road. Our extended time of warm weather and bright blue skies seems to be coming to an end as Labour Day approaches. The calendar is blissfully blank. It’s time to pick up the threads of that first draft and get back to work.
My friends, I’m here to tell you, this task is easier said than done. Mr. King is right. Better not to take too many extended breaks while draft writing. I opened up my files yesterday afternoon and they resembled the contents of a knitting basket full of brightly coloured balls of wool after a dozen kittens had done their worst.
So, like any writer worth her salt, I digress from the task at hand. I must write a blog, create a Facebook album of the granddaughters’ visit, update some of my social media sites, make some exciting announcements, clean up the cabin and . . . well, you get the idea.
I actually do have an exciting announcement. After three months of back and forth negotiation, I have managed to have both my books accepted for sale through a major BC and Alberta grocery chain – Save-On Foods. Trade paperback copies of Disappearing in Plain Sight and The Light Never Lies are now on the shelves of the Campbell River Save-On and will hopefully be showing up in more Island and lower mainland locations soon. Many, many thanks to Sylvia at the Campbell River store for working with me to make this happen.
Lest I be misleading here, I still have to approach each store and ask if they might like to put a few copies on their shelves. I am the vendor of my books. But since I am already in the system, (all tagged and scannable) this task is more easily accomplished.
Well, this blog is written, the Facebook album is up, my exciting news is out there and the cabin is clean, well . . . clean enough. Time to get to work on that basket of snarled yarn. As we say in the Twitter-sphere, #amhopeful that I will soon be #amwriting.
I admire any and all work a writer is able to accomplish while completing a book. Having toiled over my first novel for three years now (four if I’m under oath), I understand that diversions help the thought process and can often enhance the prose. Brava on taking the initiative to be your own vendor. Nice blog.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Marguerite. You have a good point – the diversions, in their own way, stimulate the creative process. I’m off now to do some vending.
Ah Summer! I tinkered with existing short stories but have not visited my MS at all. I seem to be more productive in the Fall The weather has been so great here as you say that when I’m not at the day job I’m socializing outdoors. One last weekend of socializing and then back to the grindstone! Great post Francis, lovely pics! Congrats on getting your books into Save On (hopefully all of them soon)
Thanks, Yolanda. I may have to reassess in the future and not make summer my first draft writing time. But then I like to go and visit the kids in Oct. and I’m just not sure about winter. Maybe spring will end up being my go-to season.
Congratulations on the good news and best wishes for the ‘yarn’ sorting.
I’m going to need those best wishes so thank you 🙂
Reblogged this on Anita & Jaye Dawes and commented:
reminds me of that song from the film Calamity Jane’. The one where Doris Day cleans up the cabin while singing ‘A woman’s work’. It is what we do best after all, organising, I mean…
Thanks for the repost and the idea of me cleaning up and singing a Doris Day tune has me in stitches. I don’t know about the other women, but I am a fairly good organizer. So, I better get that yarn untangled.
Another great post that I can relate to, Fran. I’m glad to hear you also struggle with finding the balance and procrastination after long non-writing stretches. It’s back to school week here in my area, so picking up the threads of my snarled basket of yarn has also fallen to the back burner. Life will calm down again soon enough, and I, too, look forward to getting back to it. Many congratulations on getting your books into the grocery chain! Exciting news indeed.
Up here in Canada, the kids don’t head back to school until after the Labour Day weekend. But we are looking at a few days of rain and that makes me feel as though summer is over, though this area can have amazing summer-like Septembers. But visitor season is definitely over and that means quiet days, for sure. I am missing those funny granddaughters like crazy. They sure lit this place up for a fun-filled week. I’ll have to write a whole post about their antics. The grocery store chain news is really exciting for me and many thanks for being one of the people out there who share my excitement.
Yeah, writing about distractions from story-writing, at least, for you, Francis, yours were fun. Mine not so much: very scaled version of what happened to Stephen King years back, only I tumbled out of my manual wheel-chair, fractured my lower leg bones! I’ve been bedridden 4 weeks waiting to have a better back-rest installed. I thank God that’s to happen tomorrow!!!
Oh my goodness – your distraction is no fun at all. I’m sorry for such calamity in your life. Here’s hoping that back-rest installation gets you up and about again and many thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my blog post.
Great news Fran, showing what can be accomplished if you work at it. Me, I’m just too lazy. I’m shortly going to hole up in a small English village for a couple of weeks to avoid distractions and forge onwards.
Being holed up in a small English village for a couple of weeks free of distractions might be just what I need, Roy. Picking up the threads is proving to be a huge challenge right now.