Tickets To Ride


Yesterday was the kickoff to the NFL season and my son came over for dinner and the games.  We have two tv’s, one in the kitchen and one in the living room, so all day, from the pre-game shows until late, I heard football “in stereo.”  There wasn’t a room in the house where whistles, commentators, crowd cheering or booing, his yelling, or my husband’s, couldn’t be heard.

At one point, during halftime, when he came up for air, he asked “So, how’s the book coming?”

This is a difficult question.   I had to sit and think about it for a moment, and then I said, “Good.” (I don’t really  know because I’m still working on the first 125 or so pages and haven’t asked for feedback just yet.)

He said, “This whole writing thing, it seems like a rollercoaster ride.”

I said, “Yep.  You got that right.”

Which prompted me to sit and think about that.

When I was getting buckled into my seat for my first ride on the “Writing Rollercoaster,” all I could do was grip the rails in anticipation, while peering around anxiously for somebody to tell me I wouldn’t get flung out.   During this first “ride,” I signed with my agent, had a book on submission, wrote a second book that received a lot of praise, and then, the interest of another agency in London about a transatlantic sale, all within six months.

But, the first book didn’t sell, we decided to hold off on submission of the second book, and now, I’m working on the third, which means for the time being, the ride has ended.  And all this is good, it’s fine, great, wouldn’t have it any other way, but…, I’m in need of that level of excitement once again.   It didn’t take me long to realize the adrenalin rush I was getting in what seemed like regular doses was a bit addictive.  Sort of like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) where the lack of sunlight makes people feel depressed, so too can the lack of “activity,” or news of something happening.

This will change.  It always does.   There can be no reactions, good or bad, unless you are producing something to react to, and that takes time.  A lot of time, and a lot of patience, i.e. one needs a new ticket.

Soon, I will be sending off a round of pages for review, or to stick to my analogy here, my ticket for another ride.  I’m nowhere near to being done, but I’m at least at that point where it’s time for that bit of feedback.   I’m always ready to take the few unexpected twists and turns, even an upside down view, all for the sake of improving the work, until I reach the end the ride, climb off, breathless and excited.

And you know what?   I always want to ride again.

What about you?  Are you working on a ticket to ride?

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4 Comments

Those posts used on your author site for ALICE CLOSE YOUR EYES, the ones that talk about how the book came to be… where you waited anxiously for feedback from your mentor, the first call you got from your agent (when you and your daughter were in a movie I think?), the call from him about the publisher, etc. That was soooo “it.”

I’ll take those thrills, like you say, however I can get them as long as I don’t have to hear “you’re not tall enough yet.” 🙂

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I am, I’m buying another ticket even while waiting in line for the merry-go-round. And I know exactly what you mean about needing the kick. Writing is so hard, so lonely, and almost entirely without regular feedback or reward unless you’re lucky enough to be in a great writing group or whatever. We have to take the thrills where we can get them, I guess, and keep queuing up for the tickets.

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Ya know Donna, you helped me figure out something about myself. My column carries me along and gives me the every-other-week-thrill I need to keep me working at the big stuff, the long projects, novels, memoir and my non-fiction watch-a-ma-call-it.
Thanks, I needed that.

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    You are fortunate to have that column, Wry. I’ve read a batch of your articles when I visited your blog, and your description in the About Me is right on…that mix of Andy Rooney and Erma Bombeck. Perfect.

    You do need to keep working on the big stuff! And boy, you’re one busy woman.

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