Friday, July 15, 2011

Life as I Know It
Just Another Sleepless Night and Pressing Deadline

I’m writing this at 3:30 am. I gave up on sleep at 12:30. Between the hot flashes, and the endless “To-Do” list, I can’t settle down.

Working at Billy’s farm in the sweltering Hotlanta sun doesn’t help. Yesterday, my day began in his garden at 8:30 am. In theory I’d get everything done before it got hot. In reality, it’s sweltering at 8:30 and the work is never done. By 10:30 another obligation called me home to pick up my children. One I’d take to camp, the other I’d drop off at Billy’s to cut the grass.

Have I promised my editor that I’ll have the completed manuscript in her hand by Friday, Monday at the latest?

That would be a resounding “Yes!”

Am I going to make that deadline?

That would be an emphatic, “NO!”

At 1 pm I met a bookseller who had traveled all the way from Indiana to meet Billy. This happens often. People who loved In The Garden With Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes so much that they want to meet the man behind the title. For those who are counting that’s three trips to Billy’s in one day (and two showers, but that might fall under the Too-Much-Information category).

After picking up my daughter at 4:30 pm, I returned home with 10 pounds of cucumbers Billy couldn’t sell. My job: convert them into pickles. I wiped away the sunscreen that was caked to my neck, and suppressed the sneaking suspicion that I am going to disappoint my editor.

I hate disappointing people.

A homemade dinner was lovingly prepared…by me, of course. Next it’s time to clean-up the kitchen and make a quick trip outside to hang clothes on the line. Yes, a clothesline in Atlanta. Perish the thought! Which reminds me it’s 3:40 am, it’s rained and they’re still on the line. Oh well, they’re clean now for certain.

Yes,  this writing life wasn’t exactly as River Jordan so eloquently describes it.

Pressing on, I continue.

At 6:30 pm I began slicing cucumbers and mixing the ingredients for the pickle brine. After a day of harvesting, watering tomatoes, shelling peas, making dinner and now slicing cucumbers my hands are beginning to ache. A dozen jars and two hours later, I am down to five pounds of cucumbers and am seriously questioning my sanity. And yes, I do need a vacation. I’m taking one soon.

I had planned on writing during the entire time until my husband said, “I’m not going if that thing (insert pointy fiinger directed at my laptop) is coming with you.”

At 9 pm when I finally sat down to write, my screen made a clicking sound and went dark. I put my head in my hands and prayed. Eventually, I got the machine to work.

So this morning, as the house slumbers peacefully, I’ll work on the last three chapters of my next book, Stress Free Marketing Practical Advice For Newly Published Authors. I must get it finished. My third book awaits, as does five pounds of cucumbers.

Renea Winchester lives in Atlanta. Her book In The Garden With Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes was nominated for a SIBA and Georgia Author of the Year Award. Look for her newest title soon, if she gets the pickles canned.


Susan Cushman said...

I'm laughing out loud as I read this, Renea. It's got universal appeal, because all writers have distractions and struggles, even if they aren't the SAME distractions and struggles. I, for example, would NEVER be tempted to make pickles instead of working on my novel, but oh the siren call of Facebook and email and blogging.... *sigh* My turn's coming up mid August, so we'll see what I'm willing to admit by then:-)

Hope Clark said...

Oh my how I understand this. I am in South Carolina, and this time of year a garden does not wait. While you were putting up pickles, I was freezing tomatoes. I have a kitchen of okra, tomatoes and cukes. I can't miss a day in the garden or it would drop dead fruit everywhere and be a waste. You understand. I'm sure you do.

I've put up produce all day to the point I've burned and scalded my poor hands until they are lobster red. And then I go write all night. Oh yeah, I get it.

C. Hope Clark

Renea said...

Susan, I haven't made pickles in 20 years! But when Billy places his trust in me I just can't bear the thought of letting him down. Hope, I love how you too, "put up" produce. It's that time of year. The busy season. And, I'm going to make the Monday deadline or die trying ! Thanks for reading, sharing the blog and for commenting. Happy writing.

Amber Lanier Nagle said...

So true, Renea - work in the garden never ends, and there are always articles that need to be written, marketing tasks to be done, invoices to send out, or some other part of the writing world waiting for me in my office. My mom often says, "You can never get it all done, and the sooner you accept that, the sooner you'll find your sanity."

I'm excited about your next book. Hopefully, I'll need it in the future.

Amber Nagle

Angie Kinsey said...

It's hot at 6am when I get up! Hydrate sister! Hydrate. :)

Roxane said...

Thanks so much for the post, really effective data.