I always joked that if I didn’t get my book done in time I would hole myself up in a cabin in the mountains without internet or my phone and just GET IT DONE. That’s what it would take, right? A week of no wifi and no distraction, just peace and quiet and nature…
That’s a nice daydream and all but I don’t exactly have a cabin in the woods, nor do I have the budget to rent one. The last cabin I did have belonged to my in-laws and it’s about 16 hours away, maybe 20 and that doesn’t include the two hour trip up the mountains with extreme car-sickness. (I hate that part the most.) That cabin would have done the trick but it wasn’t really feasible.
Well, the book deadline did come down to the last week and I still didn’t have it done. It was all in my head, which is good chunk of the work but it wasn’t complete. There were lose ends. There were many holes in the plot that had to be buttoned up. What was I going to do?! I was pulling my hair out. I kept trying to work on it after Bug went to sleep but I’d stare at my laptop screen and fade. It just wasn’t happening.
I was moaning about this to my new MettaPrints partner, Teri, and she basically said, Come up to my house in the canyon. It’s only 30 minutes away and we have lots of peace and quiet. I have teenagers who will babysit Bug. Bring her up. We’ll spoil her rotten.
It was exactly what I needed! Where do I find friends like this?!! It’s like they drop out of the sky. Thank you, God.
Off we went to the most amazing house you’ve ever seen. It’s like a treehouse in a canyon of towering oak trees. The road was a tiny bit winding to get there but it only took us 25 minutes which was not enough time to get carsick at all. I didn’t even know this place existed! It’s like a little bit of northern Californian paradise tucked away in Orange County. And yes, I’m totally looking into moving here. It’s so beautiful.
The teenagers kept Bug occupied with a steady stream of Minecraft, Dance Dance Revolution and popsicles. She also got to go see their horse a little ways down the canyon at the local stables and hang out with the two resident dogs, Maggie and Ruby.
I took up residence at the dining room table and cranked out my book.
The really cool part about working at Teri’s house is that Teri used to be an art director. Maybe she still is, she wears many hats. When she saw me struggling with my plot she started helping me. We analyzed the many many pages and took away unnecessary parts until the storyline became tighter. It’s still not perfect. I’m sure my editor will have many changes and critiques but it got me past the roadblock that has been antagonizing me for the last month and really, the real reason SAJ in Paris never got printed last year. The plot was horribly flawed.
I’ve always thought of myself as a writer and an illustrator but for some reason with this story I just wanted to illustrate and not write. Something wasn’t clicking between my left brain and right brain. It’s like my right brain took over and all I wanted to do all day was illustrate my characters doing fun things in pretty scenes and not care about realistic timelines and plots. After spending hours and hours on those illustrations, I fell in love with them and I couldn’t just lop off parts that I’d spent so much time on. I can’t take out the metro scene! That took me forever!! etc etc…
So you can see how the wisdom of an art director could be a lifeline for me when I have one week left to finish my book. She was a lifesaver.
And it wasn’t too shabby for Bug either.
After the week was up I went home with only three pages left to finish. Those pages were easy. I whipped them out in one Saturday while Bug was at her dad’s. We’ll see what my editor says next week. Hopefully this time it makes it all the way to publishing. Cross your fingers!
In the meantime I think I might talk Teri into offering a B&B Book-Finishing Retreat for other authors struggling like I was.