Before 4/20 (the unofficial official national pot smoking holiday) there was 7/14, which happens to be the date of this post’s publication. But that’s not all 7/14 represents. It’s also the area code of Orange County, California…but I digress.
So what is 7/14? And how does it connect to the Write Life to which my fellow bloggers and some other regular readers of this blog aspire?
7/14 has its origins in the 1970’s. As many groovy yet ill-advised things did.
Here’s a refresher/throwback from Fast Times at Ridgemont High:
Yes, Quaaludes have been in the news of late. Just ask Bill Cosby. Doh!
So what’s the connection between the drug and 7/14? Simply the number embossed on the individual pills.
Okay, let’s get this out-of-the-way right away: I don’t use drugs. I don’t even drink alcohol or caffeine.
But the number 7/14 has stuck with me the many years that have passed since Fast Times and an ill-advised brief moment of insanity in the early 80’s when I ate half a Quaalude at a Grateful Dead show at Ventura County Fairgrounds in California.
Thank God my guardian angels were on the job.
I vomited the thing up about five minutes after taking it–about ten minutes into the show. I came out of the ladies room and had a great show.
How could I not with the mountains to my left, the Pacific Ocean to my right, the Grateful Dead on stage in front of me, and palm trees everywhere between? A bit of heaven really.
Who needs drugs? Not this chick.
I was a young writer living in Los Angeles, and the world was mine. Or so I thought.
Fast forward to late eighties–I am back on the east coast and getting married.
That first novel? It went out and back. Stamp that sucker REJECTED, REJECTED, REJECTED. And that’s okay. It was an internship, so to speak.
My second novel, a historical romance, lands me an agent. And I was on the verge. I just knew it. Except for the fact a life-changing emergency compelled the agent to close her agency and walk away from the business. And from me.
From there, a file drawer of rejections and off to graduate school to keep my state teaching license and employment. At least I could earn my master’s in creative writing.
By the time I finished, I had one child, and one due to be born within a few months.
And you know how this story goes, right?
I wrote. When I could. But mostly, I just held on. By my fingernails.
I looked forward to “having the whole summer off” which amounted to eight unpaid weeks, and even though I wrote during that time, it just wasn’t enough for me to progress from the slush pile to a major publisher.
A surprise fortieth birthday gift came in the form of a new baby. And it was back to wiping ass and changing diapers when I wasn’t teaching and grading papers.
I joined a writer’s group, and won a major award from a major chick-lit publisher. Second place. An honor, but not a contract.
But now, I couldn’t afford to be unpaid for eight weeks so I taught summer school and wrote curriculum and raised kids and fell into bed at night exhausted and unpublished.
Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. But as Ben Franklin said, “Time and tide waits for no man.”
So what are you waiting for?
My friend and former writer’s group member, Dottie Pro, never got to finish the story she had been working on when she took ill.
She passed away leaving the unfinished manuscript behind.
Yes, Dottie had already published before she passed–but Moonbridge was Ms. Pro’s Opus, and it went unfinished.
Again, what are you waiting for?
If writing is as important to you as it is to me, make the time. Today.
Case in point: a friend says she doesn’t really have time to write, but she can tell you every special on the QVC channel.
And I’m told she plays a mean Candy Crush game as well.
We all get the same number of hours in a day, and we all decide how to use the hours that precede and follow our work duties.
So now, here on 7/14/17, we are midway through our new year. Didn’t it just seem like January yesterday? That’s the thing. The older we get, the faster time flies.
What are you going to do with the second half of 2017 to bring yourself closer to your dream of being the published author of your dreams?
Set a schedule for yourself to write–make it as big a priority as going to work and brushing your teeth. Even if it’s only an hour a day–that’s seven hours more a week than you’ve got now.
Designate a space for yourself to write.
Every writer needs a room of one’s own, as Virginia Woolf once said.
Even if that room is a back booth at Panera Bread or in your car while your kids are at their sports practice.
If setting a word-count or other goal motivates you, go for it.
If you tend to write and rewrite as you go and strive for quality over quantity, then have at it.
Mostly, feed the writer in you. Keep reading. Keep writing. Keep blogging if you’re out here with the rest of us.
Happy 7/14–Let’s make the second half of 2017 the start of something great–sans drugs, but with plenty of laughter.
Carpe Diem, friends!
Susan J. Anderson
Foxy Writer Chick