Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Monday, September 17, 2007

To finish (or NOT finish) a book

Last night I dreamed I was writing a blog post. Usually, I write them up on Notepad, but in this case, I wrote it on paper -- in pencil. (Good grief! In pencil??!! The last time I wrote anything in pencil, it was all smudged when I got back to it later.) This blog post was talking about finding time to write, written specifically for writing parents. I offered one solution: Wait until the kids were asleep. This isn't surprising; I DID sort of write a book for writing parents called "Burning the Midnight Oil." I went on to write about the benefits of having time to write after the kiddos were asleep: The house was calm and quiet, the environment was more relaxing, it was a great way to destress from the day, etc.

Then my alarm went off and I woke up from this dream. As I switched the alarm off, I grumbled over how I hadn't been able to FINISH what I was writing in my dream before being awakened from it. (So frustrating when that happens, aye?) I closed my eyes to rest just for a few minutes and, as is typical, a scene came to mind. A frustrated writer, a man, was sitting at this table in a fancy restaurant, though his clothes were not as fancy. Another man, dressed as some sort of captain in the army, or something, came to the table and plopped down a large book, saying, "Here it is."

The writer looked up at this man and said, "I didn't finish my book."

"Oh, and why not?" the captain inquired.

The writer looked down in guilt, rubbing his head. "I got distracted."

The captain was not pleased. "Oh, I can just see the last chapter now." He flipped the book open to the last chapter and pretended to read as he said, "Dear Mr. Reader, my apologies for not finishing this book. I found something better to do with my time."

The scene ended and I opened my eyes. I grimaced and shook my head. What did THAT have to do with not finishing a blog post in my dream?

Still, it made me think. All last week, I'd been pondering something I came across in an article I read: "If you keep putting something on the backburner, it must not be very important to you." I had planned to blog about that quote here, but, oh, how it REALLY played a role in my real life! I was chasing time to write amid all the stuff I had to do last week. My weeks are ALWAYS so busy and it's hard to write for as much time as I used to. And since my focus has been on manuscript edits, it doesn'ty help that I have to share a computer! (If only I had a laptop. Sigh.) But, yes, writing MUST be a priority. I believe that one should write every day, but even still I hadn't been able to do this.

And I kept asking myself..."well, what can I NOT do so I have time to write?" What task could I sacrifice? There's always usually one. Watching a movie, checking email for the umpteenth time, checking out bulletins on MySpace....

All the same, the issue here is not finding time to write. The issue is about finishing a book. With novels, that's not really an issue. I DID used to have a hard time finishing novels I started, but no longer. I DO have unfinished work, but they're remaining unfinished until I get these edits done for one manuscript and tweak another. (I'm SO CLOSE on finishing the revisions on THAT manuscript! Just one more thing to fix and the editor will be happy.) I'm in the final stages of the manuscript edits on a novel, and I've made progress. At this point, I'm confident sending off the first 3 chapters to a prospective agent. And that novel IS finished! It's DONE!

So, what does it mean? Is this about the haunted houses book? The same book I have been working on for 3 years??

Perhaps. The only drawback I'm having in finishing THAT book, though, is getting information. Getting interviews with people. Trying to dig past all the myths surrounding haunted houses. It's not that I DON'T want to finish writing it; it's just that I can't.

But apparently...I must. I have let the manuscript edits take over. I have been working on them for WEEKS...and not so much on this haunted houses book. I must reintegrate working on that book into my daily schedule.

Perhaps that was the meaning behind that scene, then. Don't find "something better" to do when trying to finish a book. JUST DO IT!!

Or maybe it means nothing at all.....



  • At 10:20 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Sometimes you take weird symbols to heart, and sometimes it's best to do that. I always say just follow your third eye, what feels right, you have to listen to your inner self and if it's telling you that something is a sign, well maybe it is.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home