Friday, April 16, 2021

Letting Go

by Linda Thorne

I have a confession to make. I’ve let go of my second book. All 350 double-spaced pages with plot point I, plot point II, and a beginning, middle, and end. It remains ensconced within the depths of my computer, out of shape, uneven, and lumpy. When I try to push one lump down to balance the book, another protuberance appears somewhere else. I have changed the main subplot twice. Each change took over a year. Then I realized my subplots were taking over, minimizing the main mystery plot.

I was so obsessed getting my first book, Just Another Termination, published that when I had problems, I’d spend an incredible amount of time studying self-help books. I’d faithfully attend a weekly two-hour critique group. After driving into downtown Nashville, I’d wait my turn to have five pages of that book critiqued. Meanwhile I had a full-time job and a husband at home with health issues.

But I’ve changed. As I move closer to my 75th year I am slowing down, and other things take precedence. I used to write posts about balancing writing time with my day job. Now, I don’t bother. In hindsight they sounded a little whiny. My current day job is more than enough for me. My free time is saved to spend with my husband, enjoy the outdoors, read books, and watch movies. When I’m not working, I want to relax. I can’t imagine driving across town now for a two-hour critique group with only the hope of improving a few sentences.

Yeah, I know it is good for a second book in a series to come out within a reasonable timeframe from the first. That didn’t happen for me, so I’m not going to beat myself up for it anymore.
   
I still peck at my second book, A Promotion to Die For. This usually happens after reading a story or watching TV and something catches my eye that triggers an idea to solve a problem within my manuscript. Occasionally I’ll get lost in working on it for an hour or so.

These days there is so much of life I don’t want to miss out on. Spending my down time with the hubby is high priority. I’m overdue for retirement, so hopefully that will happen in 2022 and I may be able to dive back into A Promotion to Die For. Only time will tell how this plays out.






11 comments:

Morgan Mandel said...

It helps to take a break from writing and concentrate on getting the rest of life in order. Whenever I concentrate on writing and editing, so many other things slide. Lately I've been going through tons of papers from my various releases containing corrections already done and publicity ventures with results of downloaded books. It all takes up room.

authorlindathorne said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. My day job absorbs so much of my time. Instead of using my spare time for writing, my husband encouraged me to sit outside on the patio in the evenings when the weather was good. I've found I've missed out on a lot working and trying to write a book. I just want to enjoy the things I've missed by trying to write and work full time. I wish I were one of those authors who can knock out a good book in 6 months (I know plenty), but I can't.

Kaye George said...

My late husband used to tell me, and I'll tell you--You can only do what you can do. Hey, my third book in the People of the Wind series might come out next year, 6 years after the second one. And it was 3 years after the first one. It happens!

authorlindathorne said...

Thank you, Kaye. I've heard similar stories on series books that came out late. I shouldn't let it comfort me because it wasn't what these authors wanted, but it has. Your late husband had wise words. When I started working from home due to COVID, a number of things changed. When the weather was reasonable, my husband asked me to sit out on our patio with him. It was so relaxing. When it was a little cool, we'd build a fire out there. Just sitting and sharing and looking at the sky was wonderful. Thanks to having a full-time job with retirement, we could afford to have a ramp connected to our back door, so my husband (no longer mobile), can take his motorized wheelchair to the patio. I honestly had forgotten how to relax.

Kaye George said...

I'm glad you get to spend the time with him this way, Linda.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I am spending a lot more time with my hubby too--but still writing because he doesn't get up as early as I do. It works for us. But I agree, write when inspiration hits you.

Susan Oleksiw said...

Like you, I have other things in life that I want to enjoy--family, friends, volunteer work. No matter where we are in our life--work, writing, family--we do need to balance everything and find our own way. It's unfortunate that the mystery world has reached a point where writers are under enormous pressure to turn out 2 or 3 or even 4 books a year. Let the books come when they come.

authorlindathorne said...

Thank you Marilyn and Susan. If I figure out how to get my unbalanced baby to ever work, and haven't lost my publisher in the process, I'll be sharing it to the world.

Maggie King said...

I plan to publish #3 in my Hazel Rose book group series sometime this year (emphasis on sometime). I published #2 in 2016. I retired a little early to pursue a writing career—-best-laid plans! I love writing, but have no desire to spit out stories. My husband also has health issues and avoiding COVID has been my priority this past year.

With some, writing is a career and they rely on the income it generates. Fortunately I don’t have that pressure.

Linda, your heart is in the right place. Thanks for sharing and being honest.

authorlindathorne said...

Thank you, Maggie. Please let me know when it comes out. I will read it and review it. I have not done that for you, so I promise to make the time (if alive and well enough). Hate to say that, but at my age, I guess I should. :)

Maggie King said...

All any of us has is today, this moment in time.

Linda, thanks for your offer to review. I appreciate it.

Take care of you and your husband.