Report Card Time

Another month has passed – where did the time go? It sure has been a busy one. By the middle of the month, I thought I had lost what little bit of insanity that I had over asking Towanna to be part of this. (Oi vey- what was I thinking?)  But dang it, her style of organization, her ability to set realistic goals and her patience actually works for me and that lead to me getting more work done this month then I have in over a year. Just think – people say there is no such thing as miracles.

At the beginning of this month, Towanna and I discussed how on the last day of each month that we would both post to ourblogs about our progress throughout the month. This is to be a joint endeavor – with appropriate references for each post. Now that it is the last day of October 2011 – here it is.

We feel the most important thing we have accomplished this month was taking 10 giant steps backwards (in my case, 10 giant rolls), taking a deep breath then getting organized. I am a pantsers all the way – go, go, go- then have to search high and low later for what I need. Towanna is the type that gets organized early and remains that way. For three or four weeks in September, we both worked in a semi- unorganized manner (which I loved at the time.) Then I became the energizer bunny – I kept going and going and going with no end in sight. Towanna just about pulled her hair out as I kept pushing her with more thoughts, ideas, and things we needed to do. She admits now that she thought the energizer bunny had become rechargeable and that I had an extra one around. Finally, Towanna had had enough. She told me it was time to be a bit organized – and organized we got. While I haven’t admitted to her (so please no one tell her), I actually enjoy the newfound organization.

The next thing we did was to set realistic goals. We now have my goals, her goals, and our goals. All my life, I have always put my disability to the side and tried to do everything just like the average person could. In the case of my writing, I tried to be like Stephen King, Elizabeth Bear, or Tad Williams. I have always set extremely high goals for myself and was never getting anything accomplished. Then I either would be freaked out or get depressed over it. Towanna helped me realize that while I can become just as good of writer as the BNA’s, my avenue of approach had to be different. Different approach – same result. Over the course of a few weeks, I noticed that Towanna was beginning to grow quiet. When I ask her what was wrong, it was as if I opened a floodgate to her feelings. She told me that she was already in need of a vacation. When I realized what I was doing to not only her but to myself, I agreed to step back and relook at everything. What I didn’t know is that during her quiet times, she was observing our days and making notes (always watch out for the quiet ones.) She did some research into goal setting then we had a nice long talk – well, she did the talking; I did the listening (at first.) In the end, we both worked at setting more reasonable goals.

Towanna will tell you that I was like the energizer bunny. I kept picking up speed without looking back – like the energizer bunny on meth. She often called me a bear that became my nickname. I know now when she talks to Bear or uses the BICHOK that I need to look at what I am doing. It wasn’t uncommon for me to come up with new ideas and projects on a daily basis, adding to the long list of “to do” things. Over the last twenty years, I became consumed with the idea I must write so many words a day or I would never be published. I worried so much about how many words I was writing a day that I didn’t begin to get any fair amount written. I was driving her insane over it (I had already driven myself insane over it.) One day, Towanna gave me a challenge – to write without thinking of word count – just for one day to get BICHOK and write. The next day, I got up and did just that. I actually got more words typed that morning then I had in the pass week. She encouraged me to do the same thing the next time. I did and again was met with success. I began to enjoy the newfound success I was having. We have dubbed it “free writing.” It has been a hard habit to break – that of having no word count per day. I am not perfect at it but I am slowly getting the hang of it. I am a work in progress (WIP).

This is not to say that I am the only one on this team that over extends themselves (hmmm, and she fussed at me for doing the same thing?) Towanna is notorious about taking on more than she should, without communicating what all is going on or how it is affecting her. She had a very hectic real life then adds on to it by becoming my co-writer. All the demands of her real time along with all the demands I was making of her almost sent her into pure exhaustion – not to mention a strait jacket. She had been well organized and disciplined from day one. Suddenly she was forgetting things and loosing things. It wasn’t until I ask her what going on that she finally admitted that it was getting to be too much.

With organization and wise goals set (for both of us), we return to writing or the continuation of writing of our first project. I was entering a very hard to write scene that I spent days working on. With her help, we completed it. With that completed, came the close of chapter one. This is when Towanna made it know she would be honored to officially become my co-writer. I was thrilled. While she was off reviewing and adding her creativity to what I had written, I began another project (what is new about that – I have always started many projects that are now sitting waiting on me to finish.) It parallels the same universe as our first project. For those who know me – brace yourself – it is a short story. Many have suggested I write a short story but I always balked at it. I can’t believe I am actually saying this, but I am looking forward to not only writing but also the sale of a piece of short fiction.

I feel great about both projects and have faith in both Towanna and I that one day we will be published authors. Keeping in line with our goals, open and honest communication with each other, patience, and love will all contribute to our success.

Oh, btw, one last thought before I go. To Andrew – please don’t have cardiac arrest but this is the same project I have been writing the last twenty years. I will finish the novel this time around. Okay, okay, Andrew – breathe, stop laughing so hard- breathe, Andrew breathe.