Sometimes, just when you ought to be having lots of fun — say, you’ve sold another book and your editor is eager to get it on the shelves — life steps in to suck the fun right out of you.
In my house we refer to that sort of thing as a fun-sucker.
Fun-suckers must be stopped.
With my third book, Daring the Highlander, I sold it on a short synopsis. I agreed to an 11 month deadline so they could bring this sequel out 12 months after the previous book. I had my family prepared for Mom to be Busy. They were prepared to eat out of the freezer and pick up the slack around the house. My critique partners were lined up as cheer leaders, brainstormers, and critiquers. My desk was clean. Really, it was. I was mentally and physically prepared to write this book even though my palms were sweaty since I’d never written a book in less than 18 months before. And I got to work.
Then Hurricane Isabel dumped multiple trees on my house.
As if that wasn’t enough of a fun-sucker, the insurance company jerked us around for 9 months. Once they settled with us, contractors were all over my house for six weeks, the six weeks before my deadline. Then, before I could even finish writing the manuscript my editor left the publishing house. I was assigned to another editor I’d never met and who didn’t particularly like what I’d written. I rewrote the second half of the book in about 6 weeks… oh, yeah, and I had another book I was promoting at the same time.
Did I mention fun-suckers?
Writing a book is supposed to be fun. Heck, I believe life is supposed to be fun, too, at least most of the time. This wasn’t fun. This book was supposed to be an adventure, a journey of discovery, an epic Highland story of intrigue and romance. And it was in danger of becoming a tragedy.
So I decided to find a way to remind myself that … say it with me now… this is supposed to be fun. I needed something to remind me that life needs to be taken with a pinch of mirth, even when the fun-suckers are doing their best to drag you to the dark side. I needed something that would make me smile every time I looked at it.
I needed a fun-sucker antidote.
My hero, Dr. Seuss, to the rescue!
The bobble head Cat in the Hat on the left is from Universal in Orlando. The one on the right is one of those puppets that collapse when you push up on the base and I have no idea where I got it from. They both make me smile. They both make me remember nights when I was little with my dad reading Dr. Seuss’s ABC
(I’m a Zizzer Zazzer Zuzz, as you can plainly see!), The Cat in the Hat (loved, loved, loved Thing One and Thing Two!) and of course, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back with all that pink snow. These two smiling fellows remind me that words entertain and teach and stretch our imaginations. They remind me that I enjoy crafting words into stories.
They are my fun-sucker antidotes and they have an honored place on my desk so I never forget, even when the writing gets tough and the words don’t want to flow and that deadline is looming and my palms are getting sweaty, that writing a story IS fun.
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