Writing a Book: The Next Pages Come Slowly

I have spent my summer under the illusion that I could produce a book. Monday mornings are the worst. I start the week staring at that stupid blinking curser on my computer. Then I return to writing…my diary. What a folly that I could write a book over the summer and be done in time for the first bell of school in the fall. So here is this week’s list of excuses. Three more entries from Bridget Jones’s Diary for Seniors. Instead of counting calorie consumption, I try counting hours spent actually writing.

Cartoon by Marcia Liss

Cartoon by Marcia Liss

Day Three – June 10: Writing time = 3 hours (finally…bravo!)

At  5:00 am I begin, full of energy and creativity. By 5:15 I decide to search for something I wrote about personal maintenance for women my age. Of course, it was my riff on Nora Ephron’s many brilliant essays on this topic. Because I am at the beginning of two days of major work to make myself look two weeks younger, I’m determined to produce something before allowing time for self indulgence. An hour later, I discovered the piece and 15 other brilliant essays I had overlooked in searching for material I might include in the book. That counts as work, right?  I would have had tons more time to write before going to lunch with some colleagues from Cherry Preschool at 11:30, but today was part one of maintenance. Usually I just do these smaller self-improvements on Thursdays, but I have a haircut and color scheduled for tomorrow, and that’s major maintenance. Plus I go to my personal trainer at the senior center (don’t laugh) at 10:00 on Thursdays, right in the middle of high peak productiveness time. So I end up with a few hours before getting my weekly manicure (to get me in the right frame of mind) and, as an added bonus, my eyebrows threaded. Then it’s off to lunch feeling good but guilty due to lack of progress on the book. Well, three hours is just two short of what I had planned on each day before I actually began writing this tome. All in all, not bad.

Day Four – June 11: Writing time = 30 minutes

Up early and still searching my computer for material. At 7:00 am the texts start arriving about the upcoming shower for my future niece and nephew in Detroit. I am in charge of invites and RSVPs, and my co-hostesses want the body count. After consulting my spreadsheet and sending multiple texts and emails, it is now 7:45. Time to shower, have breakfast, and resolve to do more work on the book before 10:00 personal trainer appointment. I also remember in the shower that we are out of many essential drug store items, and I have to get a trust affidavit notarized for my late mother’s estate. Will do after trainer session. Then off to that very important color & cut at noon. Still, it’s only 8:25, so I could work for another hour. Oops, ten more shower texts and 5 emails. My husband asks if I will mail some letters and I bite his head off. Sorry. He will never understand how interrupting my writing irritates me, but he is hardly the worst offender today. After a ten-minute phone call about the forms I have to get notarized for the trust, I now have to send my brothers an email explaining. URG! Writing time is reduced to 30 minutes max. Maybe this journal counts as writing?

Day 5 ½  – June 15: Writing time = 4 hours

Anyone with kids remember those first days at home with a newborn? They were long and busy, filled with – what? I was exhausted at the end of each day, but unable to account for my time. No way could I say what I had done to fill all of those hours. Well, that’s how this project feels so far. I gave myself a half-day extra for squeezing in a few hours of writing over the weekend. As usual, they happened just after I woke up at ridiculous-o’clock. Today, I had every intention of getting an early start but first, I had to fix the spreadsheet for the bridal shower I am co-hosting June 28 and email it to the other hostesses. That took way longer than I anticipated, leading me to speculate about the wisdom of women my age still hosting bridal showers. Then I had to hear my husband’s explanation of last night’s season finale of Game of Thrones. Spoiler alert – everyone dies a bloody death. Actually, the show lost me last week when Stannis decided to burn his young daughter at the stake to ensure a victory at Castle Black. At least, I think that’s why he did it. Told my husband I was done with this show and will stick with something saner like Orange is the New Black. LOL. At least I try new things, right? So now it’s 9:00 and I have a meeting at 11:00 to discuss my progress on the book. Time to actually write something.

Readers, are you still with me? Does anyone care about the struggles of a soon-to-be-70-year-old woman writing a book? To be continued…

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