In celebration of completing my “final” revisions – meaning my rough draft was a little less rough and as ready as it was going to be for me to send to my agent – my family went out to dinner. When the waitress asked if we were celebrating anything special that evening, my husband proudly proclaimed, “She just finished writing her novel.”
I’ll admit, I was a little embarrassed. I don’t talk much about my writing – it makes me feel like a little kid proclaiming that I’m going to be an astronaut when I grow up. An article in the New York Times by Joseph Epstein stated that 81% of people want to write a book. So, when I tell people I’m writing a book, I feel a little…I don’t know…silly. Maybe like the person I’m telling is thinking, sure kid, you and everyone else on the planet (here’s hoping people still refer to me as “kid” despite the fact that I’m well into my 30s). One article I read estimated that only about 5 to 10 percent of people who start writing a novel ever finish. So, I suppose the fact that I actually completed my manuscript makes it a little less embarrassing to acknowledge (because according to some dude, who wrote a blog post, who I’m assuming did some tangible research on the matter, but may not have, I’m one of the 5 to 10 percent).
Well, our waitress was impressed and quickly said, “I’ve always wanted to write a book” (one of the 81%). Then she asked a question that has stuck in my brain ever since. “How did you do it?”
How did I do it? I just did it.
I wrote while my babies napped. I stayed up until 2 a.m. more nights than I’d like to admit (until my fingers were typing letters that didn’t form actual words because I could no longer keep my eyes open to see my keyboard – I began to refer to myself as a vampire, which may or may not have traumatized my children ). My laptop traveled with me to my children’s dance lessons and sports practices. Sometimes, I scribbled on the back of lesson plans left for me when I was substitute teaching (shocking admission of the day: maybe I wasn’t always the most effective sub, but you can’t get much better inspiration for writing your YA novel than being surrounded by high school students). On many occasions, my “office” was the bathroom – sometimes perched on the toilet (lid down – totally NOT doing my business, mind you) while the kids innocently splashed water that seemed to somehow always land in puddles on my laptop. Sometimes, I wrote with my hiney planted on the bathroom floor while I cheered my toddler on in her quest to rid herself of those horrid pull-ups that she currently refuses to wear despite the fact that she also refuses to stop peeing and pooping in her pants (or on the floor – it totally depends on the day).
How do any of us do it? We just do it!
If you’re one of the 81%, you should totally write that book! If I can do it, anyone can!
*Footnote: We can probably add me posting this photo of my daughter using her potty (for all the world to see) to the running list of reasons my children might need therapy when they are adults as a direct result of my parenting – right along side their mother telling them she’s a vampire.