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Meghan Ward

I'm a freelance writer and book editor represented by Andy Ross of the Andy Ross Literary Agency. You can read an excerpt of my memoir, Paris On Less Than $10,000 A Day, and visit my website for more info about me.

We Interrupt This Blog …

… to bring you some random updates. I think I need to post Random Updates more often, a chance to say all those things that don’t merit an entire blog post.

First up, my writing goals. As some of you know, four weeks ago I mailed my friend in Texas $1000 with a plan for her to mail me back $100 each week if I make my goals and to send that $100 to a charity each week I don’t. I would have eight weeks to finish the revision of my manuscript, after which she would send me the remaining $200 when I turn my ms in to my (freelance) editor. So here’s how things have been going:

The first week, I sat down with my editor on the phone and outlined specific changes I needed to make to my ms. We came up with enough work to keep me busy for two weeks. Those changes included:

1) Incorporating some changes we had discussed to chapter one
2) Writing transitions (anywhere from a couple of sentences to a page) where I have big time jumps in time (rather than simply “Eight months later …”)
3) Adding a new chapter
4) Going through old journals, talking to former models and photographers, and possibly visiting a studio to get details to help add more texture throughout the book, particularly in the new chapter.

I split those things up into two groups of goals and did them over those first two weeks. It was difficult, and I wrote right up to the last hour, but I did it. What I learned? That if I didn’t have $100 at stake, I would have continued to put off the “difficult” things I needed to do, possibly for weeks or even months. They were: writing the new chapter (because I didn’t know what to write), going through old journals (because I’ve done that before and was sure it would be a waste of time to do it again), and calling my former modeling agent (because I haven’t talked to her in 20 years, and was worried she’d wonder why the hell I was bugging her with my petty requests.) How was it doing those difficult things? The chapter was hard. I really just wrote something to make my deadline, and I’m afraid to read it now because it’s probably crap. But I did it. The journals? I did find some stuff I could use, stuff I have no recollection of finding before. And I still have a LOT more journals to read through. The agent? She was nice. She remembered me, and offered to help me out. Nothing has come of it yet, but at least she offered.

The third week, I had a book review to write. I knew that would take up most of my (two days of) writing time, so I made my book revision goal easy: ten hours on ANYTHING, didn’t matter what it was. So I spent those ten hours reading through journals and interviewing models. And I found that—wow—when I have no resistance I can get 10 hours AND a book review done in one week. And the weeks go by VERY fast. When I say no resistance, by the way, I mean that, given the choice between cleaning the toilet and writing a new chapter, I’ll take cleaning the toilet. But given the choice between cleaning the toilet and reading through journals, I’ll read through the journals. No resistance.

Week four was this week. I had a book to edit for a client, a project I’d put off all month to get my other goals done, and the only way I was going to get it done was to NOT set other goals. So my only goal this week (other than to edit the book) were to send my editor my notes and new chapter and to interview one photographer. I haven’t done either yet, but they’re both easy goals, and I’ll get them done.

So I haven’t accomplished a whole lot these past two weeks, but after having had a “break” from revising, and after discovering that I CAN get more than ten hours of work done in a week, I’m going to make my next week’s goal 15 hours and see how that goes. I have four weeks left to finish this revision and, honestly, I don’t know how I’m going to do it. I’m happy I have just four weeks, though, because I’d rather work hard and then take a break than have this drag on all summer.

Another random update was that I’m crazy swamped with work right now and therefore can’t blog as often as usual. That explains why Monday came and went without a Memoir Monday. So like Christmas in July, Memoir Monday will be coming on Wednesday this week. And I’ll be writing shorter posts for a while. Which ain’t so bad.

In other news, I may have finally found a web designer to redesign my site. I won’t hold my breath, though, because I have already had five (or was it six?) that didn’t work out. I’m excited, though, to finally revamp meghanward.com. It’s long overdue.

Lastly, a lot of people have done these alphabet memes, where they write a post each week about a topic starting with each letter of the alphabet. They are memoir posts, and I linked to one last week. I’ve been wanting to do a regular post called Paris on Less (POL for short), and it occurred to me that the alphabet meme may be a good framework. I’ll start with Anorexia (of course, this is a book about modeling) and keep going until I get to … Zoo? Somehow it feels out of place to write about modeling, Paris, and Tokyo on a writing blog, but then again, that’s what my memoir is about. And I love when other writers share their work on their blogs.

So what do you think? Anorexia anyone?

And now we return to our regularly scheduled blog.

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