How to Write a Book (I think): Day One

It’s day one, week one of “the book” and I’m afraid if I don’t take a moment to chronicle the experience, I might not remember much about the next five months. It’s going to be nuts. NUTS, I tell you. 

First things first, I’m not new to writing (I’ve written freelance and blogged for most of my life), but writing a book of twenty patterns in five months is most definitely new; I recognize that this will be an opportunity for learning. So much learning. What I think I know at this point vs. what I’ll know when it’s over may will vary. We’ll circle back at the end and laugh about my naiveté, okay? Here’s what I think I know:

  1. Stay hydrated.
  2. Take your vitamins (can’t afford to get sick).
  3. Say no to almost everyone, almost all the time.
  4. Set firm boundaries. Do not waver.
  5. Get decent sleep when you can.
  6. Take Facebook off your phone. In fact, limit social media to once a day, at the end of the day, and make no exceptions. Period. (I already broke this rule. Dang it.)
  7. Don’t keep the phone near you when you’re working. #thisishard
  8. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT check your email every ten minutes. (Must.Try.Harder.)
  9. Social life? What social life?
  10. Set up an email auto-responder.

The rest of the process involves doing all the work and staying on schedule (no big deal, right?). In order to hit my deadline (which is August 15th, by the way) I can’t make any exceptions. Not even one. There is no wiggle room with the amount of work to be done and the very short period of time in which to do it. Twenty sweaters. Twenty weeks. And each one has to be calculated, written, swatched, tested, edited, finalized and photographed. And there are techniques and tutorials that must be written at the same time. There’s no margin for error, and I think that’s what’s different about this goal vs. other goals I’ve worked toward in the past. There was always a little tiny bit of wiggle room, so I could say yes to a few more things and pack my schedule until I was about to pop. I could always squeeze in one.more.thing. This time is different. As it is, I’m still finishing up a few last teaching, travel and design commitments I had agreed to before I knew about The Book. Frankly, there’s just no room for anything else. Not a coffee date. Not another design project. Nothing.

I did promise my husband a weekly date night (because after 24 years, I still kinda like him).

Don’t cry for me, (though), Argentina.  I thrive on deadlines the way adrenaline junkies thrive on fast cars and skydiving. You’ll never catch me jumping out of a plane, but I WILL commit myself to a deadline that borders on impossible. This might be the most unreasonable goal I’ve ever signed up for. It’s awesome.

I’ll see you next week. (Wish me luck.)


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