Sunday, November 28, 2010

Nose to the Grindstone

Thank you, Emily.

Fiorella was impressed when you told the RWA meeting how quickly you write under pressure.

Then came her own moment of truth. She wanted to enter Princess of Bosque Bend, the first thirty pages of which had just won single-title in New Jersey's "Put Your Heart in a Book," in the big National RWA contest for unpublished novelists. The entry fee was due the next day, but the deadline for submitting the entire manuscript wasn't due till two weeks later. Should she risk it? Fio wrote Princess twenty years ago and has been slowly revising it over the past several months. There were still six chapters to go.

Gritting her teeth and channeling Emily, she threw her hat in the ring. Focus, Fio, focus. She intensified her schedule, putting the newspaper aside for later and cracking open the laptop right after she got up in the morning. She let piano practice slide to the evening, preferably after eight, when she knew her brain was too shot for writing any more. When she had to go out for an appointment, she ran off the chapter she was working on and edited it while she was waiting. And when she got stuck, she didn't put the manuscript aside, but forced herself through the problem, no matter how much printing, editing, printing, editing it took.

Husband understood Fio's mission and supported her, staying quiet while she was concentrating and taking on extra responsibilities around the house.

And Fio, like Emily, has triumphed. The entry is due in on Thursday, which means Fio has to get it to FedEx it on Wednesday. Today, Sunday, she has nineteen chapters complete, with just one to go. She'll write four thousand words by nightfall and stand in awe of herself. That leaves her Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday till 7:00 PM, Fed Ex's witching hour, to review the entire manuscript.

Thank you, Emily.

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