<$Susan Goodwill$>

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Confession of a Procrastinator

They say the first step to changing a bad behavior is facing it, admitting it. So, here's my confession: Hello, my name is Susan, and it has been one year since I have written anything significant.
I've talked about it and diddled around with maybe 100 words at a pop. This has gone on for at least the last twelve months.
As you know, I haven't even posted to my own blog in almost that long.

Most of the writerly folks I know sneeze and a hundred words hit the paper. But for some reason, this past year and this book, a new day-job, and this all-or-nothing personality of mine have conspired to create a wee bit of some kind of er, ummm…, BLOCK!
There, I said it. And I do NOT believe in writers' block.

Here's the thing: I want to write. I plan to write. It's what I feel I came here to do. But every day, I don’t. I can make enough excuses to fill a dozen blogs, let alone this one. The truth is, I've procrastinated because writing is hard, and it doesn’t pay well at this point in my career. The odds are that it will never pay well.

That's the dirty little secret about novel writing. It's really hard, and maybe the top 10% make enough to pay our bills and eat.

The pay well part is important because I am largely motivated by financial recognition and furthermore, I like to eat.

But here's what happened in the last twenty-four hours. First, it has really been bugging me that I haven't been writing. It's on the new years' resolution list for this year, as it has been every year for my whole adult life. Most years it got shoved aside, but as you know, not all years. Hence, the two novels I have out there.
The receptionist at my doctor's office, Miriam, left me a voicemail last night. She had just finished my second book. After the various and sundry appointment information, she launched into a gushing riff on how much she loved Little Shop of Murders.

This morning I called to change my appointment. She called my book the best book she'd read in a long time. She proceeded to say that she stayed up until 4:00 AM finishing it. She said that what she loves about my books is that they are funny with a good mystery, but that there is something about them that is just a tiny bit sad underneath. No one else has gotten that yet, but I meant for it to be gotten.
And she asked that I put her first on the list for the next book.

Thank you, Miriam!
I am bottling that phonecall and putting it in the writers' room in my head. I'll take a sip of that potion every day and use it to inspire me to get back on track. 2009 will bring another book. I swear. And I'll blog once a week. I promise.

Anyway, eating is overrated.