Author Archives: anndeecanndee

About anndeecanndee

I write books. Sometimes. Mostly I just throw up words.

chocolate and sweat pants

Sometimes I wish people would pay me to do things like see how long I can wear sweat pants. 

Or see how long I can live on chocolate and popcorn.

Or see how long I can waste time not writing books.

But no one is paying me to do those things, thank goodness. And I am trying my hardest to do the opposite–wear real clothes, eat vegetables and maybe write a book.

Today was a step in the right direction. I did wear sweat pants all day. I also found a chocolate egg under my bed BUT I read through my entire WIP which has now hit the 40,000 word mark. 

Forty thousand words! And I’m not even close to being done! This is a big deal for me because my first book was about three words and my second was five. My third is a few more. Like twenty. I’m not trying to write more words, by the way, it just keeps happening.

So this is exciting.

But there are problems.

Problem #1: I don’t know what should happen next and everything I try feels wrong.

Problem #2: I think maybe I just need to mess around in the 40,000 words I already have to figure out what needs to happen in the last fourth of the book but then I’m worried I’ll mess around too much and make things worse.

Problem #3: I have a sinking feeling that besides the ending, the whole book needs something more. A new layer. Or a few new layers. And in order to do that, I’m going to have to tear the whole thing apart, throw things out, move other things around, all to make room for some new elements that might not work. 

Problem #4: I may be lazy. Because I don’t want to do it.

Tomorrow my goal is to mess things up.

I may start a new document so it doesn’t feel as painful.

Where are you in your WIP?  

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On Runny Noses

Right now, for the briefest of moments, my two younger sons are playing with blocks. Quietly. One building. The other taking blocks out and putting them back in.

I think: I want to write something beautiful every day. I want to sit and think and read and ponder and write.

I think: These children fill up my days.

I think: Can I do both?

I have been trying for many years. Sometimes I tell myself, you have not really been trying. You are  lazy. You watch TV when you have spare time in the evenings rather than doing research. You eat chocolate and read rather than figure out what it means to plot. You vacuum badly and pretend like you’re cleaning the kitchen when you could be working on a first draft. You sit in the bathtub and cry about your fat when you should be make revision notes.

I am hard on myself. Or I am lazy. I don’t know which one.

My dear friend gave me Ann Patchett’s writing memoir How to Have a Happy Marriage. In one essay, Ms. Patchett says:

Knowing that I wanted to write made my existence feel purposeful and gave me a sense of priorities as I was growing up. Did I want to get a big job and make a lot of money? No. I wanted to be a writer, and writes were poor. Did I want to get married, have children, live in a nice house? No again; by the time I was in middle school I’d figured out that a low overhead and few dependents would increase my time to work. While I thought I might publish something someday, I was sure that very few people, and maybe no one at all would read what I wrote. By ninth grade I was drawing from the Kafka model: obscurity during life with the chance of being discovered after death.

I think about this. I wanted to be a writer when I was young. I told people in elementary school that this was my destiny. I wrote stories, I won a few contests, I even got to spend an entire day with Dean Hughes (along with fifty other kids). I wanted to be a writer. But I never thought I’d have to give up other things in order for this to happen. Things like getting married, having children, maybe even publishing. Being a writer to me meant telling stories. I always wanted to tell stories. Could I have children and tell stories?

Now the two are fighting. The baby one (eleven months) keeps putting his head on the two year old (almost three) and the two year old thinks it’s funny and wraps baby’s head into a headlock. I say: Stop. He giggles. The baby cries.

So I can’t finish my thought. I can’t keep writing because the baby is crying. I think I am neglecting my children. I also think I am neglecting my house. My husband. My toes. My garden. My car. My scriptures. My whole world just so that I can spend time in make believe worlds.

But I don’t want to give it up. Does this mean I’ll never be a great mother and I’ll never be a great writer? Do I have to give up one, to be the other?

I guess I’ll never find out.

There will always be chapters to write and there will always be noses to wipe. And despite how slow and messy they are, I hope I never have to stop doing either one.

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The heart

“Writing every book, the writer must solve two problems: Can it be done? and, Can I do it? Every book has an intrinsic impossibility, which its writer discovers as soon as his first excitement dwindles. The problem is structural; it is insoluble; it is why no one can ever write this book. Complex stories, essays and poems have this problem, too–the prohibitive structural defect the writer wishes he had never noticed. He writes in spite of that. He finds ways to minimize the difficulty; he strengthens other virtues, he cantilevers the whole narrative out into thin air, and it holds. And if it can be done, then he can do it, and only he. For there is nothing in the material for this book that suggests to anyone but him alone its possibilities for meaning and feeling.” Annie Dillard The Writing Life, p. 72

Can it be done? Can you do it? What is the intrinsic impossibility in your book? What are the possibilities for meaning and feeling? Be honest with yourself about your WIP. What is it now, what could it be? What is holding you and the book back? 

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HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY!!!

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear THE HAVEN!!!!!! happy birthday to you!!!

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When is the party, Miss Carol?

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