In the midst of that rush of viruses a mere two months ago, I discovered that if I treated the flu's feverish ways with a bit of medicine and everyone dozed back off, I suddenly had a space of writing time. (Note: I did not get the flu, but 3 of our kids and my husband did! Rather I got the stomach thing along with 3 kids...and we had one child that only got a cold.)
Granted it might have been 15 minutes at a time but with a house of sickies we weren't homeschooling and we weren't doing much of anything productive. Except for me. I wrote fast and furious for weeks. It wasn't enough to appease me, though, as I'd set a deadline of Dec 31st to finish my first draft. I suddenly had far more that needed to be said and done to reach the end than I realized. I exceeded my word count goal by a fair stretch after cutting a whole lot of back story out.
My self imposed deadline came and went. I was mildly disheartened but as much as I was getting to write with sick kids around, I realized I was cosntantly interrupted to care for them. So it wasn't all peaches and cream. I bucked up and set a new deadline: my birthday (Jan 10). I beat that one!
On the evening of Jan 4 I finished. I took a few days off and then revised it for typos, inconsistencies and obvious weaknesses. I felt immensely wonderful. And nervous. I needed to share it because I needed feedback to take it further. And that meant growing some thicker skin.
The whole whopping 12-15 people who knew what I was doing (my family doesn't count here) had asked to read it. And they got their chance when I shot off copies to them the next day. With trembling and trepidation.
And immediately I had to wait. And wait. And wait. Because they hated it? Were afraid to say anything? Because I didn't follow up? Why? Oh wait, do they have a life outside of reading my epic book? Sigh....
This sharing thing lost it's oomph for several weeks as I sat and hoped someone would open their email and have a bit of time. I did learn that sharing = waiting.
But, rather than twiddle my thumbs, I decided it was time to push forward. I set a new goal for myself: Finish the next rough draft before the conference I hope to attend. Then, if I have a chance to pitch my work to an agent I can tell them that not only have I finished a complete manuscript, I have finished two.
And while I waited, I began the next story budding from the first.