Getting Into It

“If you can’t get out of it, get into it.” Great quote from The Happiness Project that feels like the story of my life right now.

I recently got out of two huge time commitments: I resigned as secretary to the board of my writer’s group and I quit my twice-monthly book club. Why? Mostly because I can’t quit my job, I don’t want to quit writing, and I had to find time to really “get into” both.

Then there’s physical therapy, vegetarian cooking, yoga and my not-so-secret pleasure: reading. With my lit heavy teaching schedule (Keats this week! And Alice Munro!) I just couldnt’ fit in the book club’s reading choices. Not if I wanted to read for pleasure, books I choose just for me. Like The Happiness Project and Becoming Jane Eyre.

BJE is the best book I’ve read this year. As a writer who always wonders where other writers’ inspiration comes from, I loved Sheila Kohler’s take on the Brontes, especially Charlotte. And I wouldn’t have had time to read it if I’d tried to keep up with my book group.

I didn’t quit all my groups. I still have my romance writer’s group once a month. And my small critique group once a month. Also, I didn’t quit DWW, just resigned from the board. All so that I could clear the decks and get this final polish finished. Worked on the first chapter today. Another chapter tomorrow.

Yesterday I figured out a couple of things I need to do to get my 7000 words. (I got 1000 from the expanded love scene). First, I need to deepen and expand my main characters’ encounters. Not just the love scenes, but any scene I can exploit to show them getting closer. I also figured out (from my study of Jan Hudson’s structure) that I can add a bit more from the hero’s POV. Also add a bit more of the family thread. 

Giving myself six weeks to do this final revision. Meanwhile, new book ideas are knocking on that door in my mind marked “story.”

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  1. Cindy, you are wise to carefully budget your time. You have a rich and full life, but looking at your list of things to do, well, I can’t imagine ANYONE having time to do it all…. Doesn’t it feel good to sign off and say “no” sometimes? 🙂


  2. Eckhart Tolle basically recommended the same thing, and I’m paraphrasing: if you’re not happy ~ leave the situation, change what you can, or make peace with where you are. Good advice. Cindy, you are a role model for me as you make your writing a priority.


  3. You are a wise and a smart person. Your decision comes out of a genuine understanding of the true meaning of happiness. I don’t know why people entangle themselves with distracting and energy draining things – big homes, expensive cards, pricy electronics, designer brand clothing. Only to find out later down the road that they are still unhappy, and they wonder why they are not happy.

    All it takes is sitting with that book that’s been calling on you to read. You’ve got to keep the dream going – you are alive, not “just living.”

    “Death of the Last Living Poet” is an admirable story that I find relevant here. It is an inspiring story. The main character, after having given up on her writing career, turns around and courageously begins to truly live her dream again.

    Happy Writing!


  4. I think unconsciously I sometimes continue to do things that no longer serve me because I don’t want to make others upset or angry. Which is silly. People will be upset and angry or they won’t, no matter what I do. And I think it says a lot about who stands by you when you make hard choices and who calls you a selfish bitch. (Not that any of my friends have called me that. At least not to my face;-)


  5. Learning to say NO is liberating. Whenever I am asked to take on a role in an organization I always ask what is the time commitment? What does it entail? Often people cannot answer that right off the bat. It takes them a while to get it down on paper what exactly they are asking me to do. By making that part of the process I have trained myself not to say YES out of guilt or anxiety and my question turns the whole thing into a process where both sides know the reality going in.

    Cindy, you always amaze me with what you do and how clearly you dedicate yourself to your work. Full steam ahead!


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