I’ve gotten a lot from blogging. There was a point at which I was sailing along, posting on the blog every day – inspired to voice opinions on everything from my favorite movie star to the existence of a man who could have been responsible for the works of Shakespeare,to the meaning of god, to the significance of Andy Warhol and to the family of Anderson Cooper.
Then one day I realized I was burned out. It just didn’t make sense to me any more, creating little essays, pleading for comments and then just not being interested in the responses that came. It was getting me crazy.
I posted that I was ending the blog, but I didn’t end it. That was kind of crazy too, but this way I had control. I could write if I felt like it, but I was relieved of the compulsion to put something out there every morning as early as I could. (At its peak, the act of posting early in the morning was cathartic and helped clear my brain for the day. By the time it had become a drag I didn’t know what I would write about or why, or whether it was worth the effort.)
Which brings me to now. Last week, being roughly a month off the blog, I began writing a book. It was an idea that had been circling my brain – a book not about Fairhope or anything connected to it, a smart, funny, commercial book about one thing I was beginning to understand, aging. I would use some material from some of my blog posts and articles I had written in the past, put it together as a chronicle of someone living as full a life as possible in her sixties. I mentioned this to a friend whose brain I respect, and even told her the idea for the title. She said she thought it sounded great and that the thing to do is write a few chapters and an outline, including the target reader, the potential demographic numbers based on research, and present it to an agent who would see if she (or he) could sell it. Here’s the kicker – I had forgotten that this friend had had a book published several years ago which did rather well in its field. She said if I would do the preliminary work, she would see that her agent read it!
You don’t have to be a famous writer to know that getting a reputable agent to read your book is half the battle.
With all this behind me, plus the aerobic mental exercise of having written a daily blog for about ten months, I started writing last weekend and words were coming fast. I was liking what I was doing. I had to make myself stop Sunday night, promising to get back to it today, read it cold, and try to shape up what I have to get it ready to be read by a professional. If she thinks it unworthy then I am spared the difficulty of finishing a book that nobody wants to publish and few would read, as in the late lamented When We Had the Sky.
And if the agent likes it, friends, if she likes it, she submits it to publishers and if one of them likes it, they say yes, get this woman to finish this, and they even give me a little money to assure that I will allow them to publish it.
Just like a real writer. So today I shall look it over and start rewriting the chapters. It has to be the absolute best I can do.
I’m glad I learned – in part from blogging – how to buckle down and shape this thing up. Wish me luck.