Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Back on Track?

Last week was a tough one. If you read – or, rather, viewed – Friday’s post, you get the idea of what I was up against. It was a trying week on several levels. First, my NaNoWriMo and my NaNoReviMo turned into NaNoNo-Mo. Hence, the brick wall. The WriMo was understandable. I had written two days, getting a little over 4000 words total, but my focus was on ReviMo, trying to clear Parallel Lives off my desk and out of my mind. And that’s where the bigger problem was. By Tuesday last week the brick wall was evident. I knew there were problem areas on the MS (and still are). Unlike past weeks, when I pulled out a chunk to work on it, I had nothing. Usually I can rewrite an entire chapter without too much trouble, and even if I end up circling all the way back to where I started and decide it was better off that way, I can write, I can work it, I can play around with it and think about it. But not last week. I was stuck.

My end decision (and I may touch on this more on Friday) was to ship it out. It went on Friday to my committed reader. And this morning, I printed the bugger out and handed it to my wife, who is quite happy to finally have it. Whether she will still feel the same when she finishes it, I don’t know. I was able to do this in part because she’s gone away this week to help out her brother and his wife, who are in the process of bringing verrrry small triplets home from the hospital. I’m not sure who’s more frightened: her, at having to handle 5-pound babies, or me, at the prospect of my wife reading my book. I’m glad, on some level, to not have to look at her as she reads it. I gave her an excerpt last winter and spend 25 minutes walking up and down our snowy street while she read, just because I couldn’t sit while she read it. I’m going to have to get over this. I actually feel good, though, now that I’ve done it.

The other tough part of the week was the high school musical. Both my girls were in it. They had to deal with a grueling rehearsal schedule up until Thursday, when the musical premiered. It was hard on them, but tough on me, too, for reasons that went beyond arranging car pools and schlepping them to and fro. More on that in the near future.

Now that all of that is out of the way, perhaps I can get back to the WriMo. According to my stats page, I only need to average 2700 words per day to finish on time. Piece of cake!

12 Responses

  1. Hi Jeff-O! I'm doing the Nanorevimo thing too. I know how hard that can be sending out your stuff. Sometimes when my friends read mine all I can do is sit around and munch on candy!

    Also, that's great you're girls are in a musical. You sound like you have a talented family.

  2. Maybe the perspective from your reader will get you over the wall. We're just too close to our own writing, sometimes.

    2700 words per day…I'm behind, too. Guess it is time to roll up the sleeves. Wow, wish I had something better to say than that, but my brain is short-circuited this month. I can barely speak after a day of writing/rewriting/researching.

  3. I can sympathize about the brick wall thing. I am trying to reconstruct my WIP into it's 2nd draft form and every time I open the file I just sit there and look at the chapter I'm working on and I just cannot deal with it. To me it looks like a car someone has taken apart, parts scattered everywhere. I don't have the energy or the motivation to put it back together right now. Lucky for me, I have an awesome book to READ right now that is taking my mind off it. (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

  4. It is scary to send it off, but we gotta do it sometime, right? And I hope it really does free your mind for something else now.

    Triplets! Makes me tired just thinking about it. Three sixteen year olds wanting to drive all at the same time. O_o

  5. I know what you mean. I hate to be anywhere near a friend or family member, when they're reading something of mine. I read too much into their body language, anyway. *grins*

    Good like with WriMo!

  6. Thanks for the comments, all, and the support.
    Erin – they are far more talented than I, and they can sing! You don't want to hear me sing…
    Jennifer – I think that's exactly what I need. I know there are flaws, but I think I was also trying to invent things and fix things just to avoid taking that next step, because that's the scary one.
    Lisa – ooh, sounds good, I can't wait to hear about it!
    Donna – yes, indeed. And I actually did make some headway on the WriMo today.
    Thanks, Carrie!

  7. 2700 words a day is a piece 'o cake 🙂 Don't sweat it! And I totally agree about not being around when people read my work. I get all flustered and self conscious…agh!

  8. I have a really hard time being around people who are reading my work, too. The first time I showed something to my mom I paced back and forth across the kitchen the whole time she was reading. Hope the crit helps, and good luck with WriMo.

  9. I actually pushed just over 3000 words yesterday, shock and awe. Unfortunately, most of it I think is overwriting, good background for me that I have to know, but not likely to go into anything finished. That's okay, though.

    Laila – She did, which makes me feel good. Since she's still away, we haven't really talked about it in depth. Now it's time for UN-biased opinions!

  10. Jenny, what's also been refreshing is that I have hardly thought about it since shipping it out (aside from worrying that the readers are laughing at it or shaking their heads over it). The fresh eyes will be a big help; so is getting it off my desk for a little while.

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