Yesterday, at 10:59am PST, I despaired. Piles of research lay scattered about my desk, in my backpack, across the kitchen table. Papers I’d been shuttling around since last fall.
I was trying to finish a revision of a nonfiction picture book I’ve been writing since last September, but I felt scattered. And I couldn’t figure out how to end the story. The answer must be lying somewhere in those papers, but I had been avoiding organizing them for days, weeks. Dare I say—longer?
My testy ADD self thought it would take too much time to organize all that stuff, so I kept shuffling through papers, finding and losing and finding and losing and getting confused and starting over and losing and losing and forgetting what I was looking for because I’d gotten distracted with some other tidbit of info that may or may not have been important. And did I remember to mention I was in despair?
At 11:17am, I pressed the panic button:
and let my despair pour out on a FaceBook nonfiction PB group page. Suggestions and encouragement began to flow downhill, because as you know—I was in the DEPTHS of DESPAIR.
WOW Nonfiction Archeologists pulled me from the mire and slapped me up one side and down the other. Gently. I was to stop fretting and start doing. Thank you for the tough love!
I made the historic decision to get organized. Three hours later, with folders labeled, quotes unearthed and highlighted, and background info reviewed, I had a revelation:
“Gee, that wasn’t so bad.”
Someone please kick me the next time I avoid organizing myself and my materials.
Not only did I find all the missing quotes, plus ones I hadn’t remembered to mark, I also went deeper into the sea of my story.
I had been fiddling with facts and had forgotten why I had started writing about my subjects in the first place. I reached the heart,
and I knew what needed to be done. Thank you WOW-ers!
But that’s not where the story ends.
Last night, my 11-yr-old son spent two hours moaning, flopping about, and moping while trying to avoid writing answers to homework essay questions. Oh, the hairy eyeballs, the pouting lips, the grumbling and growling that I endured.
“I can’t do it! It will take too long! It’s too hard!” (The genes don’t fall far from the tree, eh?)
Once he focused on his work, it only took him an hour. Problem is, he started his homework at 8pm. I insisted he stay up until 11pm to finish. Am I evil?
When I tucked him into bed, I asked him why he couldn’t just skip the moaning and growling and get on with it. His response:
“Mom, it’s the difference between standing on the upslope of a black diamond ski run and the downslope. When you’re standing up there looking down, you think there’s no way you’ll ever be able to do it. But when you’re at the bottom, you can look up and say it wasn’t so bad.”
Oh, be still my beating heart!
What are the odds we’ll both remember this tidbit of wisdom when we need to?