by Maggie Marr
Tonight, as I write this, I am exhausted. Whipped. Tired. A half centimeter to the left of drained. I have 66 pages to edit on my latest book and it is 11:08 pm. I usually get up at 4 am to write and go to bed by 9, but tonight, well tonight was family night. Plus a few documents for clients hit my inbox. Documents that had to be turned around by tomorrow. Thus my late night and perhaps my fatigue.
But fatigue is not an excuse to not write. Neither is exhaustion, jobs, children, in-laws, graduations, vacations, husbands, parents or [insert ANY excuse here]. I will give illness a pass as long as you're sporting a fever. Really there is no valid excuse not to make your fingers do the tippity-tappity dance across the keyboard. None. Nada. You either want to finish the manuscript or you don't. You either sit your ass in the chair or you don't. You either work harder for the win than the next person or you don't.
These are simple facts. They are so basic they remind me of 2 + 2 = 4. And yet these are facts that I attempt to avoid ALL THE TIME. My attempt is due to FEAR. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of exposure. Fear of ... who the hell knows what else, but fear. Fear is a four letter word, and I love most four-letter words. I have the mouth of a well-educated sailor. But the word F-E-A-R well that one scares the heck out of me.
My fear is a conundrum and the way I tame that fear is counterintuitive. I must surrender to my fear. I accept that fear is part of my process and sometimes, fear is even my friend.
My process usually involves the following:
1. Think of FABULOUS title.
2. Hear voices of characters. Learn names.
3. Begin first draft.
4. Have no idea how to get from middle of Act 2 to beginning of Act 3.
4.5 Pull out hair.
4.6 Gnash teeth.
4.7 Pace, eat potato chips, watch trashy TV, sometimes forget to shower.
5. Finish first draft.
6. Realize fabulous title is NOT fabulous. Rename project.
7. Put book away and vow only 2 weeks!
8. 2 weeks becomes 3 weeks.
9. 3 weeks becomes...OH SHIT I HAVE A DEADLINE.
10. Pull out book. Read.
11. See 4.5-4.7
12. Begin NEVER ENDING REWRITE THAT I WILL DIE TRYING TO DO.
13. See 4.5-4.7
14. Edit horrible book.
15. Send to editor.
16. Reread and love.
17. 24 hours later reread and hate.
18. More passes. More edits. Again can NOT find solution to end of 2nd act beginning of 3rd act problem that at this point may or may not exist. Who knows??
19. Loathe this project.
20. New project, new characters whisper love-nothings in my ear (Worthless Whores! (please see above reference to Sailor Swearing)) as I grow weary of current project.
21. Finally send off book.
22. See 4.5-4.7
23. Feel brief, ever-fleeting sense of accomplishment.
24. Begin new project. See 1
25. Reminisce about project when book pubs.
And yet, I LOVE THIS JOB. Crazy? Well, yes. Of course. Who willingly does the above over and over and over again (now more than 10 times). No one is forcing me to write -- well except those characters in my head whispering to me. I've tried to stop writing, but they continue to whisper.
All through the above there is FEAR and LOVE. I live that battle day in and day out. Every day. I give love the advantage by telling myself there is no excuse, by forcing my butt into the chair, by truly enjoying my characters and my stories and this brilliant beautiful gift that whatever Force runs this universe gave me. A gift, of which I am not yet worthy, nor is my craft good enough to do justice. I ask myself, who am I to turn my back on such a gift? What hubris to let my petty human FEAR destroy this gift and win out over LOVE.
No, not I. I will not fail in this fight, even when it involves bags and bags of potato chips. Yes, I will sacrifice my thighs for my art. I will get through 1-25 over and over and over again and I will always break through to the other side.
Broken Glamour, a project that I love and now fondly remember.
Maggie Marr is an author and attorney. The Glamour Series is her latest new adult contemporary romance series. Hard Glamour published January 2014 and Broken Glamour publishes spring 2014. She is also the author of the Hollywood Girls Club Series, Courting Trouble, and Can't Buy Me Love. Please click here to get Maggie's newsletter. She won't get spammy, but she will give one lucky subscriber a gift every time she sends a newsletter. Maggie lives and works in Los Angeles.