For me, writing this book has been a balancing act. On the one hand it is a dynamic, creative process that flows through my life like a river. Ideas come to me in the shower, while I’m driving my car, cooking supper, doing dishes, playing with my kids, or on a walk. Sometimes I dash to the computer and type them in if I’m close to the house. Other times I’m scribbling on whatever I can find—a grocery receipt, a Kleenex, the palm of my hand. I understand why ancient Greeks included the concept of Muses in their mythology, because I am assailed—or blessed—quite often by wild creative energy that seems to have a will of its own. I have come to understand this as a gift from God, and my job as a writer to bend myself to His will as He provides the ideas as well as the power to express them.
On the other hand is a much less mystical side of writing. Right-brained folks like me don’t like this side near as much. It involves the practical logistics of getting a story told in an acceptable way in a certain amount of time. In terms of this book, Love Finds You in Romeo, Colorado, that means eighty-thousand words in four months, give or take a few words, while maintaining a family of five, a few other part-time jobs, and some semblance of personal sanity. For me, that takes an incredible amount of discipline, and support from my “tribe,” or extended family.
When I got this contract, after a brief celebration, my sister-in-law set me down at her dining room table. She made a chart of how many weeks it was till the deadline and how many pages I had to write each week in order to reach it (Did I mention she’s a left-brainer?). Then she wrote the names of herself, my mother, and my husband on the calendar, alternating every other day for childcare beginning that week and lasting till the deadline (they had all already committed to this arrangement in the event my proposal was selected). With their help, I write about three days a week, for eight to ten hours a day. If I don’t get the amount of pages I need, I make it up at night when my kids are in bed.
In addition to this, I have three readers who read every word I write and give me feedback on my days “off.” The list of people who have helped me with setting, plot, characters–and details I’d never be able to assemble on my own in this amount of time–is already long, and keeps growing. By the time this is over, I’m sure I’ll have enough names on it to populate a small town. I’m learning if you’re a mother of little children on a limited budget—and probably even if you’re not–it takes a village to write a book.