We’re pleased to have the lovely Lynn Biederman, co-author and debut novelist of UNRAVELING (July 2008, Delacorte Press), as our guest today on the Debutante Ball. Sharp, chatty, brutally honest, and heartbreakingly real, UNRAVELING is about mothers and daughters, the search for acceptance, preparing for the unexpected, and learning that sometimes it just can’t be done.
As I sat down to write this blog entry on “our daily routines” it occurred to me that the status update I just slapped up on facebook describes much about my daily goings on. “Lynn Biederman is doing what she does—delaying what she needs to do!” I’ve come to accept, and maybe even dangerously embrace, the fact that I’m a textbook procrastinator with attention deficit disorder, distractibility, perseveration (a fancy term I think for hyper focusing on one thing to exclusion of all else, which I’m the queen of), mania, utter and complete disorganization, and a degree of forgetfulness, which may in fact be a subconscious coping mechanism against being overwhelmed by all of above.
Sooo, how in the world do I maintain a routine? Um, er… the simple fact is I don’t. Sooo, what in the world can I say about routines on this blog that I’m very honored to be on?
I can tell you that someone as loopy as me managed to write when I wanted to, when I could, when I had to, and my co-authored debut novel UNRAVELING did emerge. Okay, so maybe it took eight months to a year more than it could have. But my co-author and I never unraveled—we realized we work differently and decided that deadlines aside, we were going to avoid pressured writing.
Here’s some of what I learned:
• Believe in luck. To get published requires some of this and also you should see my dice when I play backgammon.
• Believe in history. Somehow I always manage to get done what needs to be. Passed the NY State Bar Exam the time when it was announced JFK Jr. did not (this made news of my passing bigger to my family and random fact here (see distraction above mentioned) I slept in his bed and used his dresser drawers when he was on break and I was a summer student in Andover, his prep school.
• Love deadlines. I’d never miss one so they forced me to make revisions and deal with copy-edits etc on a timely basis.
• A co-author is great. Among the many reasons is that I couldn’t stand to let anyone else down (born and bred on guilt). BTW—also why I strongly prefer singles in tennis over doubles.
• Draft a daily schedule of what you intend to do. If you keep blowing off what’s on it, eventually the stress builds and you have to accomplish stuff.
• Some stress is good. Worrying about how your character will resolve a dilemma or what your editor will say about your major changes when you were told only minor ones allowed is good stuff. When the stress passes, you have an excuse to rest.
• Pad your to-do list. It’s not only wonderful for task completion satisfaction but marking things off makes you feel victorious and provides the excuse to celebrate and have that cold beer or glass of wine (even if it’s only 4:45 p.m.)
• Sign up for writing workshops and conferences, but select them with an eye toward favorable cancellation policies. When inspiration hits, you can just bow out.
• Hire an over-priced personal trainer who does not have a favorable cancellation policy; writing causes rounded shoulders and ass-spread.
• Don’t shop for groceries. When you are writing, you are eating. Plain and true! Be leery of Google. OMG, this can be the biggest time suck of all.
Thank you so much for your hilarious post, Lynn!
Visit Lynn on the web at LynnBiederman.com.