Friday, July 04, 2008


from Jacqueline

As Patty reminded you several times yesterday, we are having an hiatus, as in a summer vacation. We will be back. Click on the link below to receive an email the moment a new post appears on Do not fret so much that you give yourself an hiatus hernia.

Oh dear, that just shows you how much I need a break! Mind you, though I will not be writing my posts, I will still be working hard, but am hoping to be able to have the odd day off here and there.

In any case, before I leave you for my hiatus holiday, I think this might be the moment to talk about fear, as in feel it and do it anyway. Whatever “it” may be, and for writers, it usually has something to do with hitting a send button or trooping down to the post office. I’ve just made the long drive down from the San Francisco Bay Area to Ojai, a journey I am well-used to as I make the trip about once or twice a month. I have become an avid fan of audio books and have learned a lot about pace, rhythm, language etc., etc., through listening to books on my six hours each way on the 101. On this occasion, I listened to a book that I have been putting off reading for years: Into Thin Air by John Krakauer, which tells the story of the tragic and unbelievably catastrophic series of events on Everest in May 1996. Much has been written and spoken about this misadventure, so I will not add to it at great length.

I had a peripheral interest in that one of my dearest friends is the great-niece of Eric Shipton, a man who scaled Everest (but did not reach the summit) and at one point drew back from further attempts because he abhorred the gathering commercialism and blatant disrespect for the mountain. Anyway, I was listening – riveted – to Krakauer’s book, and kept thinking to myself, “These people are all absolutely and completely mad.” Nuts. Devoid of all sense and reason. Why the heck would you want to go somewhere that cold and with such thin air, knowing it could kill you? This is why we have National Geographic, so that we lesser nutcases are kept well away from these places. Don’t they read their mythology? The highest places are the domain of the gods, and you don’t mess around up there. It’s Russian roulette Greek tragedy style.

In any case, with the book coming to a close (incidentally, as I came into Santa Barbara county on the 101, and saw the smoke billowing from fire after fire after fire atop the hills), I began thinking about fear, especially – and this is not such a leap – in the wake of the Book Passage Mystery Writers’ Conference and the various discussions that came up around fear. Fear of not being good enough, fear of rejection, fear of this and that. The fear that can paralyze a writer into inaction. My thoughts dovetailed with my post last week, about authors who have written a first novel while beset by difficult circumstances.

I once told someone that the reason I knew no fear when it came time to send out my manuscript, was that having almost killed myself in a riding accident, just sending off a manuscript was a walk in the park. What were the editors and agents I’d contacted going to do – come round and break the other arm?

So, for all of you who have promised yourselves that you will finish a book this summer, or start a chapter, or complete a manuscript by the end of the year, but you’re worried about this and that in connection with your work – get over it. You are not in Iraq, Afghanistan or Zimbabwe. Most of you know where your next meal is coming from, if not your next gallon of gas. You are writing, and that’s great. And you haven’t bitten off more than you can chew, because you’re not on a bloody mountain somewhere – at least, after what I’ve just listened to, I hope you’re not. And remember, editors and agents do not troll the streets at night breaking into houses to steal manuscripts. No, they wait for them to come in. If you’ve a finished manuscript, don’t let them wait a moment longer, because as soon as the summer’s over, they’re looking for good books all over again, and yours might be one of them. Tarry not. Thank your lucky stars that you have the freedom to write and get on with it. You do not need oxygen to breathe in order to send off a manuscript, though you may gasp a bit when your work leaves your hands.

And before I take the dog for a walk, I saw a great bumper sticker yesterday:

1.20.09 The End of an Error

And I shall add: We hope. Oh dear Lord, we hope.

Happy Fourth. Have a great summer. Sign up for the “We’re Baaaaack” notice, and we’ll see you later, alligator.


  1. Okay, this post just begs for a commitment from any Naked Readers/Writers who are stopped in traffic. How about this. "I will have a first/final draft of my novel/short story [you supply working title here] completed by September 6, 2008."

    After while crocodile.

  2. Love that bumper sticker!

    Have a great summer, Jacqueline and may no fire approach door.

  3. roll on 20.01.09!!!

    take care and come back with lots of food for thought. the naked readers will be awaiting all of you eagerly.


  4. Great bumper sticker, Jackie.

    And a great time at the BP Mystey Conference. Perhaps my all time favorite of the many I've attended there.

    Yes We Can.

  5. "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
    "The only thing you have to fear is ME."
    George W Bush

    Couldn't agree more with the bumper sticker.....would imagine that there's a web site or billboard which has the timer many minutes and seconds until THE END.

    "Armageddon the hell out of here." GWB on 20.01.2008

    NEWS FLASH: Senator NO aka Jesse Helms died today, Independence Day.....kindof ironic.

    J, I hope you have a fantastic and fun filled summer...that goes for all the participants here at nakedauthors.


  6. from Jacqueline

    Thanks to one and all for your comments and quotes - and for that kick in the pants, Patty. Right now it is way too hot out there for me (my people come from damp), and I am thinking that a bit of chill weather would be very nice indeed. Yes, my goal for the summer is to have my non-series novel finished.

    May you all have a wonderful summer - see you on the flipside, as my friend Gigi used to say.

  7. And don't forget that our very own James Grippando threatens to post tomorrow, so don't forget to tune in.

  8. Happy 4th, everybody!!

    Have made food, and will now go to a friend's place and relax and enjoy.

    After dealing with an hour or so of excruciating pain this Tuesday gone - in office procedure, no anasthetic - I spent virtually two days laying down or standing. Finished Patty's last books - punch in the air for Tucker - and have determined to get on with writing mine. Typing fingers are feeling itchy...

    Thanks for a great post, Our J. and yes, I'll catch you on the flipside...


  9. from Jacqueline

    Oooops, Patty, I forgot to remind about James tomorrow! Yes, the good-looking one is back on the morrow, so do not forget to check in!

    Marianne, sorry to hear about the "procedure" and hope that you are well on the mend. A book by Our Patty will do that for you, no problemo,

  10. Patty,

    I will take that challenge. I will have my next novel ready by 9/6/08.

  11. Have a great summer, NAs.

    I don't comment often but I do read your posts and you all give me something to think about and/or something to make me laugh.


  12. Have a great summer, NAs.

    I don't comment often but I do read your posts and you all give me something to think about and/or something to make me laugh.


  13. David...YAY!!!!!!!!! We will be cheering you on throughout the summer.

  14. September??? Sigh.

    All right. Time to stop the quibbling and rationalizing. It is all about fear, after all. I will have a first draft of my novel finished by September 6, 2008. I do solemnly swear.


    Trust you to bring out the best in me. Time to get back to work.


  15. Jeff, we are looking forward to your first booksigning. May the force be with you.