By Tosca Lee
Last night an author friend of mine sent me a message accompanied by an unspoken (but noted by me) sage nod.
“I am never more productive with busywork type tasks than when I’m on deadline for a book!” she said.
How’d she know I was “writing?” Because I’d just posted a picture of an amazing—perhaps the most amazing of my life—quiche right out of the oven.
And a picture of a giant batch of split pea soup. And chili. And cinnamon rolls (they go with chili—it’s a Nebraska thing).
And evidence of my afternoon spent gleefully sorting the fast food packet drawer.
Not pictured: more cooking, an entire closet edit, garden picking, teaching writing, talking about writing, thinking about writing, and lots, lots, lots of laundry.
Another author friend wrote yesterday to ask, “Can you come write at my house?”
Indeed. I can write my way into sorting her pantry and junk drawer. Into casserole and cake-baking (which I also did last week). And some old-fashioned ironing.
Have I technically gotten many (or any) words written?
“Technically”…no. But I’m preparing the way for a new work. And for my neatly-organized drawers and closet and well-stocked fridge to fall to shambles and empty out until there’s nothing but the packet drawer left to subsist on.
I was watching the beginning of “Romancing the Stone” the other day. You know the scene where Kathleen Turner finishes her novel and can’t find a tissue in her apartment—or groceries in her refrigerator. It’s a cautionary tale.
I’m sure hardier author souls leap right in, throwing consequences (and grocery lists) to the wind. But as for me, this is all part of the process.
Care for some quiche?
What are your favorite ritual procrastinations when embarking on a project?
Tosca Lee is a New York Times bestselling author of twelve novels including The Long March Home (May 2023, coauthored by Marcus Brotherton), The Line Between, The Progeny, Iscariot, and The Legend of Sheba. Her work has been translated into seventeen languages and optioned for TV and film. She is the recipient of two International Book Awards, Killer Nashville’s Silver Falchion, ECPA Fiction Book of the Year, and the Nebraska Book Award. Her work has finaled for the High Plains Book Award, the Library of Virginia Reader’s Choice Award, the Christy Award, and a second ECPA Book of the Year, among others. Lee earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Smith College. A former first runner-up to Mrs. United States, she lives in Nebraska with her husband and two of four children still at home.