TIME OUT

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I’m bad at multi-tasking. I can really think about only one thing at a time.

For the last eight months or so, that has been blogging.  It was good for me, in what is called “retirement” (meaning you don’t get paid for what you do), to have to sit down every day and come up with a relatively polished post that anyone might see.  Blogging gave life structure, purpose, a sense of keeping core skills in use.  In time, it also brought virtual friends — in some cases from parts of the world I would not have thought my words would reach — and invitations to come visit.  (I wish, I wish.)

But now I confront a dilemma.  Several weeks ago, I heard from a New York literary agent. He wrote he had very much enjoyed reading my piece in the Spring 2014 issue of The Iowa Review, called himself a “fan” of my writing and thought I might be publishable.  He meant publishable in book form.  Open offer: What did I have to send him?  He didn’t want collections of short pieces, not at first anyway.  He said book publishers would not be interested in collections unless there were a novel or book-length memoir behind it.

I did some research.  He’s been around for quite a while.  Represents some published names I recognize. Seems to know what he’s talking about.

It just so happens there is “a book” on the hard drive.  Half of a first draft of one, anyway.  I wrote it on Fridays while still practicing law four days a week, and also during multi-week summer vacations on a small Greek island during the very hot afternoons when it was best to stay in the shade.  And then I couldn’t decide how to do the second half, if it in fact needed a second half.  Or even if I wanted other people to see it.  So I put it away without deciding.

I described it to the agent. He thought we should start there. I asked for six to eight weeks to look it over and clean it up.  (My style has changed somewhat since the Greek island, for the better, I think — thanks to blogging.)  So that’s where I am.

I have no idea if anything will come of this.  But it deserves my best shot.  Hence the dilemma.  I can’t do blog and book simultaneously.  I know there are some WordPress writer/bloggers who can, and do.  Alas, we all have our limitations, and this one is mine.

Bottom line: The Getting Old Blog is taking a summer break while I sharpen my metaphorical pencil and get into serious editing.  I’ll still be keeping an eye on my Reader.  Newer followers have eight months of my archived stuff to explore.  And if anyone is really dying to hear from me, there’s always e-mail.

I’ll let you all in on how it turns out when I get back. [I’m not holding my breath.  But who knows?]  In the meantime, my best wishes for a wonderful summer!

 

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26 thoughts on “TIME OUT

  1. Well done. I look forward to the time I can go into a bookshop and on spotting your book, say loud and clear “Oh yes, I know Nina.” I have always thought we ladies are good at multi- tasking but nowadays I can’t handle domestic chores and my blog on the same day so to write a book, blog, look after your Bill etc. no-one would expect it. Congratulations again, I told you I loved your story.

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    • Oh, Margaret! You’re counting chickens for me before an egg has hatched! But thank you thank you anyway. I hope what you look forward to does come true. I’m especially glad you enjoyed the Iowa Review story: I hadn’t known you’d read it. 😀

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  2. Jools

    How exciting! And whilst we your readers will miss you, you must *definitely* do this. Good luck with your editing and I can’t wait to hear how you get on. See you in the autumn!

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    • Thanks, Julie. Yes, it is exciting! I wish I had more manuscript inventory to choose from, but I haven’t been the most dedicated of “writers.” I also wish the draft I do have were about something other than it is, but that’s what I’ve got, so that’s what I have to polish up. Maybe the agent will have some suggestions about how to finish it. Progress bulletin in the fall, cross my heart….. 🙂

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  3. Wishing you good luck and success. What’s most important is what matters to you. Some folks find blogging more exciting… others are drawn to publishing a book… or books. The actual writing is very similar.

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    • Thank you for your good wishes, Shimon. Blogging brings its own rewards, but I grew up when to be a writer meant to have written a book. So that’s what matters right now. Of course, it may not happen, and that will have to be okay, too. We could also have a “friendly” discussion as to whether the “actual writing” — book or blog — is indeed very similar. But let’s save that for the fall! All best till then…..

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    • Thanks, Janet. (I love the “yay!”) Yes, I was very excited. Now comes the nervous-making part. Since I can’t start a new book from scratch (that would take years), I’ve got to work with what I’ve got. Which in the end I didn’t think was very good, or I wouldn’t have put it away. But we’ll see…..

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      • Maybe it needed to be shelved for a while – and time and distance will give you renewed perspective on the story. Who knows? And maybe there is a story inside of you that is just waiting to come out and doesn’t need years and years. I have faith in you. Good luck

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  4. Hello Nina,
    This is *wonderful* news! And it makes complete sense that you put your focus/main priority on writing your book ❤

    Please accept my congratulations, and hope you don't mind if I send you a PM from time to time (not too much, of course) 😀

    Hugs!
    Takami 🙂

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  5. NM: I enjoy your blog very much and so … I’m warning you, lady, that you better come back with more posts after your book-break. Or else! If you fail to return to blogging, I will lodge a formal complaint with the corporate owners of WordPress, demanding your immediate return … whether you feel like returning or not! I write on behalf of all your obsessive, deranged, stalker-like fans … Seriously, best of luck with getting something real and vibrant into your book-in-progress, which I’m sure will be great. Thanks for your support over the last half-year. Go and conquer and come back soon! MC

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    • MC: You are wonderful and heartening and also funny. And best of luck with yOur (third) book-in-progress too! As General McA. famously said before you were born: “I shall return!” NM

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  6. Fantastic! Congratulations, Nina-and fingers crossed that your well-earned good luck continues to hold!

    (By the way, I recently got a short story accepted for publication! It will appear in the July, August, September issue of The Storyteller literary magazine–not exactly the Iowa Review, but pretty exciting!)
    Gwen Southgate

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    • Gwen, that’s so great. Yes, it is pretty exciting! And since it’s now July, that issue must have appeared. Where do I find a copy? Is there a website from which one can order? Rhetorical questions: I shall find out for myself! So that’s what you’ve been doing during your (noticeable) absence from the “Share Your Thoughts” section! Keep going!!!

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