Today we're joined at the Pink Heart Society by Harlequin Heartwarming author Liz Flaherty, who's talking about being afraid of ever-dwindling word days...
The writers’ group I belong to assigns us writing prompts each month. They’re often fun.
My problem is that just like when I was in school and did my homework on the bus, I leave it until the very last minute. The very last minute, as in if I could drive and write, I would. This month’s assignment was fears and phobias, or something like that—we pretty much take off on our own with the prompt.
What is written below, while it has nothing to do with what I’m doing here at Pink Heart Society—thank you so much for having me, by the way—maybe it does, too, because my writing habits are changing. And not, sigh, for the better.
“I do.” When she’d handed him the cup, he nodded thanks. “I’ll be glad to deliver a tree, but you’ll need to come to the farm and choose the one you want.” He gestured toward the store’s front door. “I’ll throw in a wreath as a welcome gift.”
“That’s kind of you.” She hesitated, taking her time about putting the cookies on a Santa platter. “There’s a lot of that here, isn’t there? Giving and sharing.”
He shrugged. “We help each other.”
Ellie looked at the empty space where the tree would go. “Do you know anything about the orphanage?”
“It’s outside of town, past Reindeer Meadow. It’s on one side of the road and the assisted living apartment complex is on the other.
The toys-for-the-needy boxes at the stores in town take care of Christmas for them—the children and the elderly both. I’m surprised no one’s brought you one yet.”
There are 152 words in the paragraphs above. Some of them will possibly stay in the manuscript. Some of them will go. Either way, the 152 are the sum total of how many words got written on my work in progress yesterday.
In addition, I wrote two promotional blog posts, swept up lady bugs, stared thoughtfully into space, and played numerous games of computer Solitaire.
When I was young, I feared growing old above all things. I would become wrinkled, for God’s sake. I’d be unable to get up from the floor, carry bags of salt to the water softener, or remember the names of...well, anyone. I would become deaf, break at least one hip, and refer to younger generations as “those damn kids.” My clothes would have elastic waists, low heels, and underwires. Sex would become a sweet, abstract memory. Everything would slow down.
And at the end of it I would die. Even as a Christian who believes pretty firmly in the afterlife, I’m not all that eager to find out what that afterlife is.
Some of those things have indeed come to pass—never mind which ones—and at this point I’m not sure what I was so afraid of. So far, the whole being old gig is a lot of fun.
So now I have a new fear. I remember writing days when I would get 2500 words. I remember one memorable weekend that I wrote 50 pages. And now I’m having 152-word days. I don’t even want to figure up how many of them it will take to write a 70,000-word book.
So, at the end of the day, my big fear is slowness.
The assignment ended there, without crossing out the ending words, on a little wave of laughter because most of us in the group are there. We’re not as fast as we used to be. Well. Crap.
I’d like to end this post on something a little more proactive, such as stay in the chair until you reach your page goal!, but I don’t feel that way anymore. So, yes, here’s what I’m going to do in this stage of my writing life. I’m going to stay in the chair until it’s not fun anymore, make sure my deadlines don’t exceed what I can do, and stop and smell the roses. I’ll get there when I get there.
Do you struggle with getting all those words on a page? Join Liz in the comments!
He had her at "hello again…"
After the prom night accident that had stolen the innocence of his small lakeside hometown, Jack Llewellyn had run. The guilt—especially facing his high school sweetheart, Arlie Gallagher—had been too much. Now he had no choice. He was back in town, and on Arlie's radar.
Arlie couldn't believe that after all these years, she still had him under her skin. He was such a changed man…a responsible business owner, a single parent. Would he understand the changes she'd gone through, the secrets she lived with? She was ready to forgive him but was he ready to forgive himself? And did they have to say goodbye this time?
Liz Flaherty thinks one of the things that keeps you young when you quite obviously aren’t anymore is the constant chances you have to reinvent yourself. Her latest professional incarnation is as a Harlequin Heartwarming author and she is enjoying every minute!