Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

It’s Been A Week

Literally, it’s been a week since my last post and it feels like a lot has been happening, yet it also feels like nothing has been happening. It’s also “been a week” in the figurative sense since my last post, and I’m guessing you know what I mean. Someone asks how you’re doing and you say, “Oh, it’s been a week.” Yeah, there’s been a lot of those. There are a couple of things going on that have made me want to melt into a puddle and disappear for this long weekend:

The World

From Ukraine to US Supreme Court, it’s been a week, and it’s been exhausting. I think I’m going to leave this one alone for now, because I just can’t put anything cohesive together. Outrage can be hard to harness.


We are getting a lot of long-needed work done around the old homestead. New roof went on in March. New hot water heater went in (quite by surprise) on Tuesday. We’ve had contractors of all kinds crawling all over the house and that means doing things like clearing garage and basement space, cleaning the house, touring them around, putting up with noise and disruption (seriously: have you ever been inside a house when the roof is getting done? I think my teeth are still rattling). This, of course, will all be for the good, but there’s been some ping-ponging: after getting the hot water heater, we were told that one of the projects we expected to be done by the end of July is now expected to be done by the end of September. It’s been a week.


Summer is an especially busy time for me at work. This weekend marks the first weekend since Memorial Day where I’m not working for my day job at all. And while my boss urges me to take time off during the week to offset weekend hours (and while I’ve gotten better at doing so), it can be rather disruptive to life. Plus, the work in summer is more physical: hauling around canoes, slogging through the swamp, clearing trails—it’s good work, it’s fun work, but it’s tiring.

The Work

Given all this, perhaps it’s no surprise that the WiP is perhaps suffering a little bit. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the curve, and that maybe I was about to get to where I could see around it enough to know where all this was going. On Tuesday morning, I finished a paragraph and then wrote this on the next line: [What is the point of all this?] Yeah, that’s not a good sign. The scene in question was one I had thought over a bit while schlepping canoes back and forth on Saturday (see “Work”, above) and it made sense. And then halfway through? Not so much. But I plugged on and at the very least I have an understanding of one of my characters. On Wednesday we ate early and I gleefully sat down to take advantage of the time and….nothing. All the factors listed above are definitely borking my productivity for sure.

The Good News

Yeah, so I apologize for coming off so down. One of the pieces of good news I received this week has to do with release of Powerless. I reached out to a local arts organization earlier in June to find out if they would allow me to have a launch party there, and to my surprise, they said “yes”. Now there needs to be some haggling done: what are we doing, what are they doing, how much will it cost, etc. I guess I’m not 100% ready to announce that because they could tell me it will cost me ten grand, and that ain’t happening, but it seems like a pretty good bet so far. The significance of the site is that it’s where this novel started—no, not in the middle of the road where I was first struck by the bolt, but the place where I first set pen to paper. I’m quite excited about that, but also rather nervous: what the hell does one do for a launch party, anyway? And so I think I’ll ask that question of all of you: have you ever had a launch party for one of your books? What did YOU do for it? And if you’ve never launched a book of your own, have you ever been to one? What made it successful? Please share your experiences below!

3 Responses

  1. Are launch parties a thing anymore? I don’t think I’ve ever had one. I’ve been on Facebook to talk about my book during release week, but I didn’t find much value in that. And my friend held a party for the release of my first book, in which, maybe, two people showed up? I’m surprised I sell books at all!

  2. Real life can really get in the way of writing, can’t it?

    I did a launch party at the local library with another author friend who was releasing at the same time. I kind of hate in-person things like that because it feels kind of the pushy sales thing I hate so much about being in the line of work. I’ve never done one since.

  3. Stacy: Are launch parties a thing? I think so. I guess I’ll find out! It’s not as much about selling books (thought that’s a bonus) as celebrating, I think. Though I guess it will be more work than celebrating.
    Donna: I’m not a comfortable salesperson at all. So I’m thinking I’ll keep that part of it low key.
    Thanks for commenting!

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