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Tertia, what is the expected length of this book? How much of your blog material can you recycle? Are your working from an outline?

You may try reading Bird by Bird, by Ann Lamott. It's a wonderful writing how-to book, and she addresses the issue of feeling overwhelmed with a writing project.

Once you have answered the above questions, divide the task up into pieces, say, to be completed weekly. That will provide you some structure. Some weeks will be more productive than others, but at least you will have an idea of what to shoot for.

Bird by bird, really.

Tertia, what is the expected length of this book? How much of your blog material can you recycle? Are your working from an outline? What is the time frame with regard to when the editor wants to see a draft?

You may try reading Bird by Bird, by Ann Lamott. It's a wonderful writing how-to book, and she addresses the issue of feeling overwhelmed with a writing project.

Once you have answered the above questions, divide the task up into pieces, say, to be completed weekly and in the time frame allotted. That will provide you some structure. Some weeks will be more productive than others, but at least you will have an idea of what to shoot for.

Bird by bird, really.

I was going to suggest something similar: using your favorite blog entries as springboards for writing. You could either pick up where an entry left off, or elaborate on it.

Good luck! Don't wake up earlier, though. Seriously, what the fuck?!

Uh huh. Now you see why I shelved the novel.

I second (third?) what wessel said. How do you eat a whale? One bite at a time. I wrote my doctoral dissertation in about 7 months by giving myself daily page-count goals (usually 4-5 pages a day). Of course, some days I'd barely squeak out the 4 pages, some days I'd do 6 or 7 without breaking a sweat, but the daily goals relieved me of the looming sense that I needed to be working on the damn thing every waking minute.

Also, you obviously do have a lot on your plate right now. Is it feasible to put off starting the book till after Rose's recovery, for instance?

As my friends told me ad infinitum: YOU CAN DOOOOOO ITTTTTTTT!

Self-inflicted?? You're kidding, that's so unlike you.

15 min at a time, says the FlyLady. And she seems to work. Baby steps, small portions. You should have fun doing it!

Yes, don't settle in for a long writing session. Only let yourself write for 15-20 minutes at a time when your life is so busy—but make yourself do that 15-20 minutes each day. You can bundle it with your scheduled wine-drinking time.

Yup, what everyone else said--I struggle with this CONSTANTLY myself. I say break up the project into small, manageable pieces, give yourself daily or weekly goals, etc. I usually say I have to try to write every evening, and I have a list of pieces I can work on--I am allowed to have a glass of wine with my writing, and after, but NOT before...

When you first posted that you got the contract I wondered why you even had to "write" the book considering the amount of material in your blog. I'm guessing they nixed that in the contract? Too bad, 'cause how easy would that be to print out the whole kitandkaboodle and hand it over to your publisher?

T - how productive do you really think you'd BE at four am? I'm guessing NOT VERY! LOL!

Tertia, I could have written something very similar about my life right now. I have other projects (I don't have a nanny who needs a boob reduction), but the feeling is similar. I'm here, reading your blog because I'm avoiding trying to organize my un-organizable life.

I think we need to drink more wine.

It's the time of year, I'm getting it too. This year I managed (somehow) to survive the whole wedding planning thing, now getting batches of photos from said wedding printed and mailed off to the clamouring relatives is looking like such a looming mountain of "to do" that I want to hide under my bed.

Lists are good, make lists. That way all the stuff you have to get done is on paper, not bouncing around in your head making you crazy.

Agreeing with the others.

Getting up at 4am is NOT an option!! You'll feel tired, resentful, cranky and most probably unproductive.

Try starting with 15 minute bites. Before bed might work. 15 mins might not seem sufficient, but after a few days of 15 mins a day you'll have some idea of where you're heading and the motivation will increase too.

Also, you can THINK about your book just about any time - when in the loo, for example. While having sex. Maybe not. But you can write a fair amount in your head, work on it, then get it on paper when you can.

If it is all too much (and it sounds like you've got waaaay too much on your plate) then could you, as Laura suggested, postpone until Rose has recovered?

Good luck, you can do it, you can do it!! Just like studying, look to the end result and imagine yourself there. And how proud you'll feel. And how stinking rich you might be ;)

There's an insane challenge out there called "National Novel Writing Month" -- you write 50,000 words (around 150 pages, okay, novella not novel, but still) in a month. That month happens to be November. I've just done 54,000 words while working full-time and going on an overseas business trip. This was my third year. The novel from two years ago grew to 200,000 words before it was done and now I'm rewriting and looking to sell.

The first time somebody suggested this, I thought they were insane. What, me write a NOVEL? Then he pointed out that 50,000 words over 30 days is 1,700 words a day. That's not so bad. And actually, as things turned out, it wasn't. Some days, if it went well, I got ahead, after which I could budget a day off. Other days, that 1,700 word goal kept me at it even when I was about to throw the computer out the window.

So, take what's been suggested for your total word count and break it down into bits like this. It works. It REALLY works. And then once you're done with your quota for the day, you can go on GUILTLESSLY to do other things.

The other thing to remember is that first drafts are, in general, bad. They're supposed to be bad. So it doesn't matter if they're bad. By thinking this, conversely, you can relax and write something good. Seriously. Take your work seriously, but not THAT seriously, and you can do it. (Of course, anyone as G&D as yourself won't write anything REALLY bad, but this gives you the freedom to do so, if you so want.)

Finally, a writer my mother knows always says: Sculptors say that when they carve, they take a block of marble and carve away everything that isn't their sculpture. What you do with a rough draft is to create your block of marble.

Since you have a lot of material on your blog, you're already at least partly through a rough draft anyway. You just (just! hahahaha) have to arrange it.

Anyway, good luck!

Don't ask me about organization, deadlines, procrastination and pacing oneself. Right now, I should be organizing school picture retakes for a school of over 1000 children. I should be putting away the 3 or 4 baskets of clean laundry sitting here and washing the other 88 billion baskets of dirty ones. There are a million little projects I should be working on (and a few big ones), but I'm not. What am I doing? I am being a Blog-Whore. Obviously, you are doing the same thing, lol!

You and I can IM words of inspiration and motivation to each other along the way while we're pulling our all-nighters. Then, when it's all over, we can have our nervous breakdowns together. ::sigh::

I'm with the 5 - 15 minute chunks of time crew. Well, that and allowing yourself the time to decompress and being READY to actually write.

Hello, fellow procrastinator! I am horrible about it, and it is constantly biting me in the butt. I preach the 15 minute rule, though. I do things in 15 minute increments, and it seems to work for the most part. Granted, I can't get the laundry done in 15 minutes, but I can scrub down my kitchen, clean the bathroom, mow 1/4 of the yard, and USUALLY get a good start on dinner...all taking about 15 minutes. Try it for a week and see how it goes!

It does sound really hectic. I just had an idea so for what its worth anyway - maybe you could get one of those small dictaphones and during your day (or evening when you are supping wine) maybe an idea will pop into your head and you can whip it out and record the idea. Then at the end of the day or whenever, you can just start with typing in the ideas you've had during the day etc and so no real brainwork involved - less impending effort - maybe less likely to procrastinate. Whilst you write down these ideas etc you will have got started and so maybe you will write a bit extra when you have finished the dictations - maybe not but at least you will feel you have done something.

This procrastinating thing of which you speak?

Boulder = World's Champion many years running.

Sorry, you'll have to find something else to be "known" for. Anything we can do to help prod your memory about certain times or events?

Most happy for me though? That you've updated the wines!!! Makes going to the grocery so much more interesting to stop & see what SA wines they have & to see if I can find one that you've mentioned.

See - my new obsession. Fun for me!

Oh how I sympathise. I've got a 10 month old and a fledging online lifestyle boutique which I run from home. The idea was to be able to combine working and childcare in a flexible and stress-free way. Ha ha! Instead I spend every waking hour worrying that I'm doing neither the business nor the baby properly and was up until 2.30 am packing up orders (how dare people buy my stuff!)

A couple of things that work for me. Get yourself a To Do notebook. Whenever you think of ANYTHING that needs to be done, write it down in the book. Then each morning review your list and choose the 2, 5, 10 things that you're going to do that day. It doesn't matter if the list is 100s of entries long - just getting things out of your head and onto paper cuts down stress and worrying time IMMENSELY.

Also I'm beside myself with admiration how you always reply to emails and posts on here (my inbox looks more like Julie's). I'm sure we'd understand if you were somewhat less assiduous over the next few months...

Good luck!


Damn, if I'd only been up at midnight, I could have been the first (as opposed to the 20th) person to suggest using your blog archives for the book. But seriously, you should be able to take chunks of it (perhaps with editing, perhaps not) and use it as the basis of your story.

Otherwise, really, this full time working mom thing is a breeze- don't understand why you have so many problems. Once you cut out eating, relaxing, exercising and any other time which is devoted to keeping you going, you'll be fine.

Procrastination eh? Hmm, well, I am busy writing on your blog rather than facing the horrific day at work I have ahead of me, so clearly I cannot relate.

(wanders off whistling off key.............)

Don't panic yet.
Here's another idea - get a digital voice recorder thingy and dictate notes and thoughts throughout the day. Like this: http://tinyurl.com/cs6ep .
You could set aside 15 or 30 minutes to ramble on a certain topic. Probably best if NOT done at 4am. You could have a secretarial service - or someone type up your ramblings (as long as they're semi-coherent).
If you have an MBA, you have probably written some v.v. long and boring stuff! ha!
I would create an outline of insanely interesting topics (chosen from blog entries and other ideas). Then, I would go through and dictate my thoughts on a topic. I have to structure things to get though them -I could never just write a book. I'd end up reorganizing my spice rack or color coding my address book.

Why not let your readers suggest some of their favorite entries?
PS - Those babies are just beautiful. Lucky Asshole!

Sounds like a wonderful recipe for a nervous breakdown. . .

Bird by Bird is an excellent writing book...it's about how someone had to write an ornithology report and couldn't get to it...and his dad suggested just write it bird by bird.

So write it day by day, treatment by treatment, hour by hour (during certain parts of your story we were all living with you hour by hour).

Ironically Annie Lamont wrote one of the best books on first year of babyhood (as a single mother) called "Operating Instructions" - a book that changed the course of my future.

Also love her books on faith but that's a whole 'nother post.

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