Friday, September 25, 2009

Fire under my ass

Y'know, there's nothing like a little firm direction to get you going. Years ago, I was dragging my butt on finishing my first novel "Letters to Montgomery Clift." For three years, I looked at it and put it away, looked at it and put it away. I found myself in a writing class taught by Mona Simpson. She told me to finish it and I had the ending done in one month.

I'd been working on two books, a collection of short stories and a novel. I'd been flip-flopping between them for two years. Out of the blue my agent called and asked me how I was doing. He wanted to know when he would see my next book. I sort of panicked. I told him that I'd get pages to him...soon.

It's not that I'm afraid of my agent. I just really respect him and his agency. Within a week, I prepared part of a manuscript and shipped it off to him. Now, I'm waiting for notes.

In the last week, I've readied the first 50 pages of my novel for him to read as well. It's amazing how a little pressure does wonders.


jeff said...

Yeah, I learned the hard way that the supposed nirvana of "no deadline," means you don't actually work hard enough.

Took a while to start reading this post though, with the title referencing your ass and all. ;-)

Peter Varvel said...

As scary as this kind of pressure and panic can be, it is very encouraging to read this.
Go, Noel!

Don Cummings said...

Deadlines are God's hands rubbing your back. Good and hard.

Dann said...

Good for you! Yep, I can relate well to this 'process.' I'm in the middle right now. I've started a book, now I'm deciding which way to go with it, thus I haven't written in about 2 months. Maybe my upcoming European trip will help put a spin on things. I do believe, though, that all of this, for me, is part of the 'process.' As you know, writing is MUCH MORE than just sitting down writing everyday -- SO MUCH MORE! When I realize this, I feel no guilt. Whew, that's a nice feeling too.