I'm Working On My Book Again

September 9, 2010

I was originally going to steal Kathy’s What’s That post and just put this picture up and have you guess what it was. I was going to post a smaller picture obviously but when I was taking the picture my son ridiculed me for falling back on filler that wasn’t my schtick. Apologies to Kathy who does it much better. My son suggested I write a post about my book and what I was doing with it. And since he has been so helpful with my book it seemed like a good idea.

I’m working on my book again. I have found focus and my angle, so to speak, I have 87,000 words written but am now reworking it into something that isn’t just babbling on for as many pages as that is. For those of you who are new here my book is about growing up in a mixed orientation marriage family. In other words I was raised by a gay dad and a straight mom. My mom had a debilitating stroke when I was four and that is also a big part of it. It’s a memoir which seems rather arrogant when you consider I am a nobody and haven’t done much of anything but hopefully it will be entertaining and insightful.

So, I am knee deep in that, which isn’t always wine and roses. It’s a dark subject on a lot of levels even though it had a lot of bright spots. Even though I have written most of it I am reworking it so that means I have tossed out a lot of those 87,000 words and am writing new words or at least putting them in a different order. I have been writing about 2000 words a day. And they are good, much better than the words I had strung together before. Way better.

But, the thing is, writing is hard.

Life doesn’t happen in a coherent fashion and trying to piece it together for a reader is not easy. I am struggling with the organization more than the anything else. I tend to ramble and that doesn’t work in a book, at least one that I want to actually have published.

So after writing 2000 words that actually make sense each day, and I am making sense of them as I go along, I don’t have much desire to write any more words. I’m not taking a break but I’m letting you know that my writing might just suck here a little because I can’t think much on this plane after spending hours writing other stuff.

If that makes any sense.

And, nothing of any interest has happened in my life yet. Fear not, for school has just started and I expect notes to be coming home from the teacher at any time in the near future.

*I totally stole that little shoe thingy from somewhere, I can’t remember where anymore but it was from a restaurant and I thought it was cute, actually ex#2 was the one who did the pilfering but since I got it in the divorce it seems reasonable that I take the blame.

** See, I can’t even write a sentence properly anymore.

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  • Reply joann mannix September 10, 2010 at 12:48 am

    “Writing is hard” Amen, I say. Amen. Amen.

    Good luck. You can do it. I did the very same thing. I ripped mine apart a few years back and added and subtracted and when you look at the new verses the old, it is amazing.

    Stay in the zone. 2,000 words is fantastic. Write hard. And when you’re done, it will be spectacular, I just know it.

  • Reply MsDarkstar September 10, 2010 at 1:20 am

    I actually have a shot glass that shape. Or did. Once upon a time. In my old life.

    The writing process is a strange one. I’m a (so far failed) novelist so I do know a little about the writing process. I just wish I’d come up with something worth reading!

  • Reply Mikewj September 10, 2010 at 4:48 am

    I’ve been working on a book, too. And it’s also killing my other writing. Also, now I think maybe I suck at writing. Why was I made this way?

    • Reply redheadranting September 10, 2010 at 11:55 am

      Tell me about it, that little voice is constantly saying my writing sucks,
      especially on my blog, but I ignore the voice and press on. And you my
      friend are an awesome writer so don’t listen to that voice either. If I
      could write a fraction as well as you do I would have a best seller on my
      hands. Wanna ghost write for me?

      • Reply Mikewj September 13, 2010 at 2:02 am

        Sure, I’ll ghostwrite for you and you can do it for me. Maybe that way we’ll actually get something done, although we might confuse our readers a bit, eh? That’d be fun, to tell the truth. We ought to write posts for each other, one of us pretending to be the other and see if anybody notices. That’d be fun, too. What say?

        • Reply redheadranting September 13, 2010 at 12:10 pm

          I think they would notice but I’ll give it a try. We both ramble on and on
          so maybe they wouldn’t notice.

  • Reply marie September 10, 2010 at 5:06 am

    it is fun when you see little things when you are out. yesterday, i was walking around and saw a sign for sale in a store, it said “put your big girl panties on and get on with it.” i laughed out loud.

    it caught me by surprise. i loved. i think i will paint that on the wall of my office.

    • Reply redheadranting September 10, 2010 at 11:57 am

      I have a friend who tells me to put my big girl panties on regularly, it is
      one of my favorite sayings and I wish I had come up with it. Of course I
      think about going into teaching since the other saying rattling around my
      brain is “those who can’t do, teach”. My third grade teacher used to say
      that all the time, he was a great teacher, I think. I’m struggling with
      second grade this year so maybe he wasn’t such a good teacher.

  • Reply cardiogirl September 10, 2010 at 8:39 am

    This is a quote I’ve had banging around in my head since college.

    Easy reading is damn hard writing. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

    Ain’t that the truth? Yes, it is. I did NaNo last November and it was such a struggle to keep posting M-F and write at least 1,700 words each day. I have yet to pick it up again in earnest, but I do feel like the opportunity to write — now that my kids are at school — is finally there.

    • Reply redheadranting September 10, 2010 at 12:02 pm

      I’m having trouble with designating chapters. I’m so unorganized that this
      is a real struggle for me, I actually Googled “how to write a book”
      yesterday. I stumbled on this page about authors who wrote their books in
      insanely short periods of time. I can’t remember who and how long but Agatha
      Christie supposedly wrote her books in under a month and some famous chick
      who wrote hundreds of romance novels wrote them in five days each. Obviously
      they didn’t have kids. When I get stuck I just think of all the monkeys
      typing away who would eventually write the works of Shakespeare so I just
      keep typing, even if it is crap. Though, I am pleased to say what I end up
      with is not crap, it is flowing much better this time around.

  • Reply JunkDrawer September 10, 2010 at 8:59 am

    I am working on neither my book nor the blog, so you’re way ahead of me. I’m impressed with the amount of words you can bang out in a day and that you are so focused on finishing. Good on you!

    And thank you for mentioning my What’s That posts. I remember when I started that contest, wondering if it would be really awesome or would totally bomb. I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I will say that it’s hard sometimes to find items to photograph. I haven’t thought about stealing things, so thanks for the idea. If I get caught, may I blame you?

    • Reply redheadranting September 10, 2010 at 11:58 am

      Yes but you are losing Stinkys so you have much to be proud of. By all means
      blame me and if you like I can send you a boat load of pictures that are
      hard to identify.

      • Reply JunkDrawer September 11, 2010 at 11:17 pm

        I bet you could. I suspect your basement is a treasure trove.

        Geesh. I’m still struggling for something to write for the blog. I’m in such a funk. I may have to resort to a random thoughts post, but I always think those are boring for people to read. I dunno. Gettin’ real desperate here.

  • Reply Anonymous September 10, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Writing is hard work. I think most folks undervalue it as a craft. It takes time and effort, and the learning curve is steep.

  • Reply Kim - In Search of Me in Mommy September 10, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Great Jen! You’re writing is amazing – I just read your dancing with skeletons chapter…BRAVO!! 2000 words a day…YEAH!

  • Reply Lisa Griffiths September 10, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    My brother, who also aspires to be published, once told me a quote by I-can’t-remember-who that goes something like: Some say writing comes easy. For me, I need a sledge hammer to get the words out sometimes.

    That is me exactly on most days. Sometimes the words just flow then *BAM*, nothing as if the well is dry and nothing is left.

  • Reply babs (beetle) September 10, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    I’m with Kathy on this. No book writing, and not much blog writing either. I’m hoping the new season may give me a kick up the backside to do something!

    Well done on your book. I really enjoyed the first part. Will we get any more, or do we have to wait until you publish?

  • Reply meleahrebeccah September 10, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    Good for you! I’m glad you have your focus back. I for one am very interested in reading it. I wish I had some motivation to finish my own WIP.

  • Reply Jayne September 10, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Good for you, Jen. I think you’ve got a really interesting premise that a lot of people are going to relate to. 90% of writing is just showing up, so you’re already way ahead of the game. Just kick that little bitchy editor’s voice to the curb. There’s always a little part of us that’s hell bent on sabotage. Write on, my friend!

  • Reply Lin September 11, 2010 at 2:34 am

    I remember reading an excerpt from your book that you posted a while back–I do hope you finish it–it was really good. And more than anything, I’ll bet it is cathartic for you to write. Good luck with it–I hope you sort it out.

  • Reply Lanita Moss September 11, 2010 at 3:47 am

    I SO want to say I am writing a book…but it is still in blog form. Although I did print out my blog for my 91 year old grandmother to read. It was 166 pages. That’s a start.

    Anyway…you say you are a nobody and haven’t done much of anything…but I just read a memoir, Mennonite In A Little Black Dress, by Rhoda Janzen. She was just a mennonite…you can compete with that…

  • Reply Katherine Murray September 11, 2010 at 4:30 am

    I will certainly buy the book! Can’t wait for notes from teachers… I can’t do that b/c I have all of my kids school hating me… 😉 I loved your math one last year… good stuff!

  • Reply Vange September 11, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    It does sound like a unique family. Good on you for trying.

  • Reply Linda Medrano September 11, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    I look forward to reading this! You’ve had an extraordinary life and you are an extraordinary woman.

  • Reply brahm (alfred lives here) September 12, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Your life sounds interesting, and already love your writing.

    Keep it up, I look forward to the book!

  • Reply Man Over Board September 13, 2010 at 1:57 am

    You are someone and your book will prove that I am sure. God Bless you for taking on such an endeavor, I am envious.

    I bet writing the pages are therapeutic also.

  • Reply Mike September 13, 2010 at 3:45 am

    I fully understand what you mean by thinking on a different plane. It’s like switching gears, and with writing, it ain’t easy.

    But 87000 words?! Well done that you’ve got that much down.

  • Reply Anne September 13, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Good luck with it. This is a great time to get dedicated. I think that for parents, September is more of a new year than the real New Year. It is a great time to refocus and renew.

  • Reply Connie September 14, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    You go girl. I am fascinated. My husband’s, actually both my ex-husband”s mother and my current husband’s mother are lesbians. I want to know what the odds are of that! having 2 mother in laws that are lesbians. My ex-husband knew his mother was a lesbian but didn’t tell me until after we were married and my current husband’s mother “came out of the closet” after we were married. I am proud of her for being true to herself. She was terrified of her grown children’s reaction, none of whom had one ounce of judgement or criticism. Mom was still mom. Who cared if she was in a relationship with a man or with a woman. Actually, my husband felt more comfortable and less threatened with a woman in his mom’s life than he would have if it had been a man.

    Bravo to you for sharing your story.!

  • Reply Stephanie September 14, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    Good luck with the book! I have a feeling it is going to be a good read!

  • Reply Pricilla September 17, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    Oh congratulations. I somehow missed this post.
    You go!

  • Reply Anonymous September 18, 2010 at 5:58 pm


    Don’t overthink. Just get everything down and worry about piecing it together during the rewriting process. In the back of your mind, think narrative, or what is the common thread that runs throughout the book that holds it together but don’t sweat it.

    I’m in a writing critique group. A gal in my group who is writing a memoir is having the same issue. I suggested that she write a summary of each scene on a fact card and tape it to a wall, so she can see all the scenes in front of her. Getting organized helps. Also, I would suggest reading some memoirs if you haven’t already.

    Good luck! It’s so easy to get overwhelmed. Concentrate on each scene and not the entire book. Think baby steps. Hope this helps.

  • Reply Anonymous September 20, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    I had no idea that this was the topic of your book (I thought you were walking on another make money on the internet book – talk about coming late to the party) I’m really curious as to what you have to say. Here in San Fran kids being raised by gay men is always a topic being debated, but it’s always discussed by the parents, never the kids who were raised that way. Keep writing and sort it all out in the editing stage (said the woman with 3 unfinished books) but do as I say not as I do is another favorite saying of mine. I personally can’t wait to read it Jen:)

  • Reply Sarah Allen September 21, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    I can’t wait for this book!

  • Reply Conveyancing Fees October 25, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Eagerly waiting for your new book

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