photo credit: Bella Cirovic
On November 1 2011, I began a project that took me forever to commit to: writing a novel.
Not such a big deal, to be sure– but for me, it was deeply challenging to first make the commitment and then (perhaps even harder?) telling people what I was doing.
The goal was to have a first draft completed by November 1, 2012 — estimating a manuscript to come in at about 350 pages.
above is the chair where I wrote 3 hours a day, 3 times a week . . .
Things went pretty well. Really great, truth be told. I enlisted the support of a Squammie who happened to be a published novelist AND, as it turns out, a fabulous writing coach: the luminous Camille DeAngelis.
pictured above: Camille with two of her biggest fans
When people asked me how it was going or how it works exactly to have a writing coach, I invoked the image of a crazy woman (that would be me<–!) stepping into a lake and starting the long swim across. At her side is a small motorboat with a sweet angel aboard who seems to know exactly when the water is feeling choppy or the task insurmountable. At those exact moments she would say the magic words:
just keep swimming
Just. Keep. Swimming.
If ever I got a tatoo (and for the record, that seems like one of those things the word never was invented for) it would surely read: just keep swimming.
Over the days, months, and weeks — pages accumulated until I had 325 heading into November 2012 and all seemed well in hand.
And then? I had to stop. Leg cramp. (<– kidding!)
What happened? Well I found myself explaining it the other night and the conversation went something like:
him: why did you stop writing last November?
me: um, I had just held three back-to-back Squam gatherings (September, SquamItalia, Squam by the Sea which were attended by 300+ people. I was in the midst of running four online workshops all of which sold out so we had a total of 800 people signed up, but I was also full out launching the 2013 gatherings — oh, and there was an online store in there somewhere.
him: so basically, you’re a total slacker
But that was then, this is now.
Tomorrow morning Camille is jumping the train from Boston to Providence. I pick her up at 11am and we come back to the white chairs of Casa Nemo where a four-day writer’s retreat — aka The Great Sequester of 2013 — will begin. I will be writing the last 30-40 (60?) pages of the my novel’s first draft. Camille will be working on her next book*– did I mention that she has a book, Bones & All, coming out with St. Martin’s Press in 2014? Allow me to share that and also that she just signed another exciting two book deal last June!
The girl, she is on FY-AH!!
So, if you are not familiar with sequesters, ALL technology will be off. No phone, internet, etc for the duration. This is just letting you know– Kaitlyn will be in the office as per normal through Friday afternoon– but you won’t hear back from me until Monday.
With any luch you’ll see me then– tired, but happy with a face down in the sandy beach.
Fingers crossed, anyway.
See you on the BEACH!
*and, you know, shouting things through the megaphone at me . .