Friday, July 29, 2011

Time to Forget

There are two times I forget about what I'm writing. I do it on purpose, or at least I try to.

1. When I finish the first draft.

2. After I get the manuscript back from my editor, make corrections and then turn it in for the final time.

I do it the first time so I can have fresh eyes when I go back to revise. If at all possible I like to have the first draft completed at least two to three months before the actual due date. It doesn't always work out, but I try.

I forget the second time because it isn't possible for me to keep going on whatever else I'm working on if I dwell on what's been turned in and is for all practical purposes a done deal.

But until one of those things occurs, the story is constantly in my head, constantly being worked through and critiqued. I can't bring myself to let go of it even slightly.

For the past few months I've had four manuscripts at points that didn't allow me to forget anything. However, in the last week and a half I finished the first draft of the second book of the cooking school series and turned in all corrections on the third book of the farmers' market series. It's strange to go from four down to two in such a short period of time. I'll start revisions on the cooking school book next week; it'll come back into my head so I'll be back up to three. I have big yellow notebooks and a whiteboard (I call it the murder board) to help keep me organized. A friend asked me recently if thinking this way drives me crazy and I told her that it didn't, not in the least actually. In fact, it never occurred to me that it should.

I realized that this is how I've always done things. When I worked in advertising, I would put total thought into ads or campaigns until the completed "first drafts." Then I'd make myself forget about them while I worked on something else (or elses) so I could go back to the original project with fresh eyes. And when something was approved or turned in, I let go of it.

I guess I should clarify that "forget" in this instance means that I just don't think about it, obsess over it my family would say. Of course when you're writing series books or a number of ad campaigns you can't truly forget where you've been, but I guess I just take breaks from all-encompassing concentration.

Of course, this method comes with a price. There's only so much room in my noggin. I frequently forget (in this instance forget means forget) things at the grocery store, even when I've written a list. I was supposed to take my son's baseball uniform to him yesterday and I drove all the way to the field without it. I always forget what day it is. I truly have to look at my calendar every morning. I haven't forgotten a family member's birthday yet, but I totally spaced Father's Day this year. My husband ended up with the only card (it was lame) left at Rite Aid at ten the night before and my father only got a phone call.

And I totally missed last Friday's blog update. It's a good thing I update "almost" every Friday.

Hope you have a great week ahead and may you remember all your important stuff.



  1. I just thought you was maybe on vacation. We all forget sometimes.

    Just finished a terrific book, called Enemy Among Us. It's more or less a what if book. The story is about a sleeper cell of Iranians who have been planning an attack on the US for almost 30 years. The book holds you attention till the very end. Oh by the way my Cousin wrote it, his name is Randy Reardon.

    Jill Bourne

  2. Oh! Very cool, Jill! I will check out the book this week. Congratulations to your cousin!