All of my writing planets mysteriously drifted into harmonious alignment on Saturday. I finished the book proposal. You know how it is, you can spend days struggling with some intractable problem, and then it magically clears up with an hour or so of focused energy. Dave Eggers says, "It takes me eight hours to get about twenty minutes of work done." The other seven hours and forty minutes are spent banging your head against the laptop keyboard, metaphorically or otherwise.
Perhaps an even better analogy is when all the ingredients of a pie (or book proposal) come together. For weeks, Cooper begged me to make him a banana cream pie. And I tried. The first time, the bananas curdled the milk, so I whipped up a box of chocolate pudding and made chocolate cream pie instead. Not such a bad outcome, really. But missing an essential ingredient: bananas. The second time I made instant pudding and added the bananas to it... again, it tasted delicious, but never set... more like banana cream soup with crusty croutons. Finally, I made homemade pudding, added the bananas, and ta-da! Banana cream pie bonanza. Much like the banana cream pie, the book proposal took a great deal of trial and error. And then it all came together.
The crust of the book proposal was the somewhat dry and tasteless author info and promotion plan, the pudding was the mushy, gooey chapter outline, the bananas were the sweet sample chapters, and the whipped cream all the light and airy chapter titles I thought up in a frenzy during my writing group the day before. It all set up beautifully in just a few hours on Saturday afternoon. Then I emailed it to my book coach.
Not the banana cream pie. That will be the day. Banana cream pie by email. Mmm.
As it turns out, I needed the mistakes. I needed some time to struggle and give up and come back and struggle again. The mistakes are not so much mistakes as information about how not to do it. Krishna tells Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, "No effort is ever wasted." Those seven hours and forty minutes of head banging delight are essential to the process. I just need to remember to enjoy them more. Blessings to you on all your struggles and joys!