This is what I look like when I am writing in the coffee shop and I find out the wifi is down.
I love to write, but sometimes, writing doesn’t love me back. Take last week. It was Thanksgiving weekend, and of course things were a bit hectic. Then I had plans to go to a friend’s house for lunch on Saturday. I planned to spend my afternoon on Sunday writing at the local coffee shop (they have the best chia pudding, and music I like playing in the background), so I packed up my laptop, wrapped myself up in my warmest winter wraps, and headed out to the car. I waited in line for my chia pudding and herbal iced tea for about 10 minutes. Then I sat down, situated myself at the counter near the power outlet, and opened my computer. I clicked on my most recent work in progress (known in the author world at WIP), and waited for it to load. I got a message on my screen…”loading, loading, loading…” I took my first spoonful of chia pudding, savored its deliciousness, and waited. Then, much to my dismay, I overheard the barista speaking to a customer. “Our wifi is down,” they said, “and it’s not likely to come back up today.” So, my document would just continue to try to load indefinitely. I swore quietly into my hibiscus iced tea with one packet of stevia and fumed. I was going to write for an hour or so, then complete a blog entry. Grr. The best laid plans. So, what does one do when one cannot open one’s document in Google Documents? One reads their previous FINISHED stories on Word. What can I say? I’m the biggest fan of my old (read: written before last week and still unpublished) books (I think my fourth one is the best)!
When I bought my current laptop, I loaded all of my documents and files, which had been saved in a backup drive by the good folks at the Best Buy Geek Squad, into my new device. And I was very happy to see my first novel. Well, that’s if you don’t include the handwritten ones from junior high. Those still count, but those will just be for my own personal perusal, okay? So, I started to read the novel that I had started more than 18 years ago. And you know what? It was pretty good! I was surprised. All these years, I had thought I would have to go back and edit the living daylights out of it to make it halfway decent, but it wasn’t so bad. I mean, I’ve learned a lot in life since the days when I first started that novel, but the concept was still sound, and the dialog was compelling (at least I think so). I thought maybe I could change enough of it to make one of the characters become one of my McKinney High Class of 1986 grown-up kids, but as I went along, I learned that Maya and Tyler (I love those names) really needed to have their own, separate story. So, I decided that they would. It would be a stand-alone book and not part of my current series. Until, ugh, the worst thing happened. I tried to open the second half of the book so I could see how it ends (Ha, I knew how it ended…it actually needs one more chapter to wrap up), and all of the chapters were in Works. Or maybe Perfect Works (different from Word Perfect). So, I called for reinforcements: the family members who know computer stuff. I am not included in that group. And they offered to help. So, I sent them the files and they made assurances that they could figure out how to convert them to be read and edited in Word. Well, it turns out even they were stumped, and they do this crap for a living! So…either I find someone else who can do it (“Hello, Geek Squad?”) or I plan to rewrite half of the book that I mostly wrote over 18 years ago. So, for now, novel number one sits in virtual obscurity.
And you may ask why I never finished the story of Maya and Tyler. Good question. For anyone who has ever been pregnant, you may understand. Babies are born with brains. And somehow, they have to grow those brains in utero. So where do they get the material for their brains? You guessed it, from their gestational provider’s brain. In this case, me. My darling child sucked out every last bit of creativity I had, until I had to actually drop out of my writing group, because I had no capacity to bring in any new material from week to week. It all paid off, I guess, as my child is very smart and creative (we all know where she got those traits). But what was my excuse after my child was born? Uh, 18 years of raising a child. I don’t think I need to say anything further.
But then, one dreary night in mid-November, 2021, in the midst of the COVID Omicron variant outbreak, I had a dream. Yes, an actual dream. And the dream was compelling. It led me to think, “what if.” What if things had gone differently for me when I was a teenager? What if I had gone to this school instead of that school? What would my life be like? And then a floodgate came open, and I started writing about Sally. Soon after, I realized that Sally’s life was nothing like my life would have been in that situation, but so what? Then, James came into being. Then her friends captivated me, and I needed to tell their stories, too. So here we are one year later, floodgates still open wide, nearing the end of book number 5.
So, I guess I say all this to say, nothing can really stand in my way of writing. Let the wifi be down. Let my mind be decimated by growing a zombie brain-eater inside my own body. Let the computers crash and the sky fall down. But nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is going to get in the way of me completing my stories. So, I hope you enjoy them.
If you are interested in the best Chia Pudding in NE Portland, Oregon, leave me a comment and I’ll tell you where I get it. And let’s hope the wifi is back on tomorrow!
Coming up next: What it takes to get from start to finish: my experience so far of being an indie author
And coming soon, but I just don’t have the date yet: COVER REVEAL of “May I Have Your Attention Please.” (It’s really cool)