Many of you know that I am working on a manuscript about our chicken Charlie and the lessons she taught me in “mother-henning” a child with a serious, chronic illness. This is not a “how-to” chicken book (there are already many excellent books on that matter) instead this is a book on well, lessons learned from the flock.
I am a story-teller, always have been. I’ve been writing on this blog (almost) every day for about 5 years. I’ve written many small stories, but there’s one big story, a real-life story that absolutely needs to be told.
It has to do with health lost, youth, disability, honoring an independent spirit, fighting for what’s right, and eventually letting go (with supports) allowing your chick to leave the nest. This story has been brewing for a few years, I know what I need to say, it’s just that with so many other distractions (and let’s face it, distractions that pay, like a requested article will always bubble up to the top) I haven’t been able to find the time I needed to write *my* story.
A (true) friend who has infinite faith in the beauty and power of words has come up with a solution. I’m putting this here so that those of you who know about my project, have a better idea of its progress.
The plan is to have the final draft done by January (which might mean a few easy Chicken photo posts in early December 🙂 )
Note: this first appeared on http://www.nhwn.wordpress.com Write to live, live to write – a blog on the business of writing – written by writers for writers.
Once a week I am kidnapped. And I’m actually okay with it.
I have a friend (hi Gina) who is convinced that if I just have the time to write my book that my book will happen.
Good friends like that are kind of awesome. She recognizes that although I have a book with a compelling story, it’s the money projects, the wildfires, and the kids that are *always* put first – meaning that my book languishes. (That’s one reason why the weekend at the Buddhist retreat was so productive – it was a weekend of only writing with no distractions.)
So my friend makes sure that I get to her house, one morning a week from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. and we write, she on her next book and me on my project (working title: A Tick and a Chick – How a deformed chicken helped a mom cope with her son’s chronic Lyme disease.) Oh sure we talk a bit, and we’re always throwing technique questions back and forth, but then we go to separate rooms and we write. In part, because of her insistence to this schedule I have a 300 page first-draft manuscript.
Yesterday I was going over a hard copy of my draft making notations where more information was needed and where events needed to be put in a different sequence in order to make sense to the reader (even though they made perfect sense to me J ) and I realized that the first 100 pages looks pretty damn good.
I floated out the idea that perhaps I should query an agent and send along those 100 pages.
“Not on your life,” my friend counseled, reminding me that “This has happened before.”
And it has. I’ve had 3 very good literary agents show interest in my project but when they requested a full manuscript, a kid got sick, we had school events, work projects showed up, you know, life happened and with one thing leading to another, interest dropped.
Literary agents want to make the sale – they aren’t particularly keen about sitting around and waiting until the stars line up perfectly in your life.
I console myself by saying that my story has evolved and it wouldn’t have been ready at those junctures, but even I can recognize sour grapes when I see them.
So while it defies every bit of writing advice (never send a completed memoir, just send the first 50 pages) I have to agree with my friend’s logic. If I don’t get it done, chances are, I won’t get it done.
The bar has been set.
My friend wants my book done by January. And with a supporter like this in my back pocket, I’m starting to believe that this may actually happen.
Knowing that I live in the coldest house in New Hampshire, this past Tuesday on our weekly writing morning, my friend gifted me with an incredible prayer shawl she had made which, of course, is now dubbed the “story shawl.”
“Now.” she told me, “there is absolutely no excuse for you not to have your butt in the chair.”
Will let you know how things are progressing.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.
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