There are 24 days left in the year, and I haven't started writing my book yet.
When I made my literary declaration on Facebook in August, I was still with my previous employer and doing pretty well in the work/life balance department - leaving the office at a respectable time, knowing when to clock more hours and when to manage expectations, keeping up with industry news, making time for Luke and the kids - all without wanting to pull my hair out. My 40-minute commute was longer than I wanted, but nothing's perfect, right?
I also had a clear idea for my book. A memoir in the vein of Haven Kimmel or David Sedaris with hints of Elizabeth Gilbert; stories about family, growing up, my relationship history and the lessons I've learned along the way. This is the book I cried over on my drive home this summer. This is the book I wanted to bring to life.
So what happened?
For one thing, I took a new job.
I was with my last company for seven years; I forgot how stressful it can be to start over. To adjust to a new environment, new people, new expectations - and a 50-minute commute. My coworkers are wonderful, and I enjoy all of the freedom of my last position, and this was absolutely the right decision for me and my family, and I AM SO, SO GRATEFUL. But still. There's no fast-forwarding through the newborn stages of major life transitions.
For another, I'm wavering on my book topic.
At first, the memoir was a no-brainer within reach; then, one night in October during a phone call with my mother, I had a change of heart.
My (pregnant) (!) sister Ryan was wrapping up a weeks-long stint in Chicago at the time, and her plan was to drive home to North Carolina just outside of Fort Bragg by herself with her two dogs. My mom didn't want Ryan making the trip alone, so she offered to ride along and fly solo back to Chi-town. For someone with a chronic aversion to travel, this was huge, but she was that worried about Ryan getting home safely. She also wanted to explore North Carolina, especially Cherry Point, where she lived with my father, Samantha and me for a few years while my dad was in the Marines. She wanted to see our old apartment building, walk through town and revisit some happy memories.
Listening to my mother reminisce about Cherry Point, picturing her as a young woman alone with two little girls while my dad was away, reminded me there's still a lot I don't know about my parents. Maybe I should be telling their story instead of mine.
So I started crying (I know, always with the crying) about a new book idea - interviewing my mom, dad and other members of my family to preserve pivotal moments in their lives. No pressure.
This morphed into:
Wow, that's a pretty tall order for just getting started. Maybe I should put the emotional stuff on hold and warm up the writing muscles with something fun. Tragic Love Friday part three, anyone?
Why start from scratch? Maybe I should take my best blog entries and repurpose them for a book, just like Carrie Bradshaw! If Carrie Bradshaw were a sporadic blogger in the Midwest instead of a high-profile sex columnist in NYC.
What if I choose the wrong book? What if it's bad? What if it's good and I don't know what to do with it when I'm done?
It would be so much easier not to want this.
Luckily, Ze Frank is here to help a sister out.
LET'S START THIS SHIT UP.