Monday, November 12

The numbers game...


          The other night, my husband and my two-year-old grandson Eamon were sharing the couch. There was a big towel there that Duane sits on to protect the upholstery when he comes in from outside and Eamon was tossing it over his grandfather’s head, giggling gleefully.
          “How many times are you going to throw that over me?” Duane said, making a pathetic face that didn’t fool Eamon for a second.
          “Four.” And he threw it again.
          At least seven times.
          “The kid has a weird perception of numbers,” said Duane just before his face disappeared for the eighth time to the music of Eamon’s merry cackle.
          My sixth and seventh books will be out early in 2013. I’m excited. I’m proud of the books. I’m editor-blessed, have great friends in the writing community—yay, Wranglers!—and looking at things from the pre-published vantage point of the 1990s, the writing career’s pretty shiny.
          Only, it’s taken me 13 years to do what some writers do in—I don’t know, 13 weeks? I make some money, but scarcely enough to support my sewing and traveling habits. Nowhere near enough to pay the bills or seriously pad our retirement income.
          I remember fondly when I could write 10 pages a day or 30 over a weekend. An essay was a couple of hours from blank page to finished product. I remember reading about a best-selling author who counted 500 words as a good day and being shocked. Years later, 500 words is a good day for me.
          When I retired last year, I hoped I would be able to sell two or three more books before I stopped writing altogether. I’ve done that, but I’m not ready to stop yet. So maybe four.
          I’ve been doing edits this week. And spending grandkid time. And sewing. Great things that are as fun now as they’ve always been. And writing. Even if it’s slower and sometimes not as good, it’s still writing. Still joy.
          Numbers are just numbers, after all, and Eamon’s “weird perception” goes along with laughing hard. Joy.
          So...maybe seven or eight.

24 comments:

  1. Sometimes those awesome little people sure put things into perspective don't they Liz!

    Cute post :)

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  2. I've often wondered if blogging and social media have zapped my creativity. Case in point: Aug 2007-July 2008, I wrote 4 books. Began heavily blogging and chatting Jan 2008. 2009, wrote 2 books. 2010-present, a lot of partials. I either need to 'disappear' from my online 'life'; wrestle my characters into speaking to me; or get a ghostwriter:)

    Even NaNo isn't helping....or it could be that family responsibilities are taking over my life? Everything I've already written will be published in the next year or so. So I neeeeeeed to write. Why wasn't I writing more during my 'down' time? I thought there was plenty of time left. Sigh.....

    My granddaughter has hit the 'Ma-ma/Da-da' stage, and learning to scoot backwards on her tummy:)

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    1. Go with the granddaughter, Molly--the writing's fun, but she's "funner," and the numbers are just that: numbers. Thanks for coming by!

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  3. I read somewhere that writers don't retire, they die. So I don't believe that you'll stop. LOL! Maybe you'll change genres?

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  4. I used to be able to write a short book in a month, now it's more like a year. Great post, Liz!

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    1. Thanks, D. I miss that speed, but don't think it's coming back!

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  5. Cute post. I wish I could crank out titles too, but it doesn't happen.

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    1. Not to wish bad on anyone, but it's kind of good to know I'm not alone in it. :-)

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  6. I say stick with Eamon's number's game. Nothing adds up right in the writing biz. I think the important part is feeding your writer's soul by putting words on the page.

    I suspect there will always be one more book inside your head, you know?

    I figure I'll keep writing as long as I can remember 50% of the words I need. In the meantime - thank God for my Thesaurus and the Flip Dictionary by Barbar Ann Kipfer. :)

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    1. Oh, gosh, I'm there with you on remembering the words!

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  7. Aw, Eamon sounds like an amazing kid - and Duane a great grandfather for sitting through it. ;)

    I say go for 7 or maybe 77...

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    1. Thanks, Kristi. They're quite the combination!

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  8. Great post. Personally I'm really glad you're not giving up after a two or three more books. A writer writes--always. So says Billy Crystal in Throw Mama From the Train.

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  9. I read posts by authors that say "I wrote 20k today." I'm good if I do that in a month! I have no idea how many books I have in me, but finding out should be fun! Great post.

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    1. One thing I'll guarantee--there are more in there than you think. :-)

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  10. Congratulations on the upcoming books! I'm sure there will be many many more to come!

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  11. Liz, you and I have traveled such similar publishing paths...and I have to say, in the present moment, I've never been happier. The money (numbers!) is one thing, but the joy writing brings? To swip the Mastercard mantra, "PRICELESS." Blessings, my friend, and keep shinin'!!! xo

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    1. We have, Marianne, and I'm with you on the happy part. And the priceless one (has a lot to do with the two-year-old and his compadres, too )Thanks for coming by!

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  12. Just pre-ordered Jar of Dreams, Liz. Can't wait to read it. The numbers game is something I stew about because my crit partners are incredibly prolific and I am not. Work as a full-time freelance copyeditor keeps me so busy and honestly, I'm just not a writer who cranks it out like that. Need to face the fact that I'm me and not them...

    Love the name Eamon--that's a character's name one day, I think.

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    1. Thanks, Nan! Eamon's a pure Irish name, and my Dreamboy, too. :-)

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