A Bad Case of the Ya-Gottas
“Ya gotta,” says the voice in my head.
“Ya gotta get a COVID booster shot.”
“Ya gotta work on your website; it’s a mess.”
“Ya gotta trim the hedges before the weather gets bad.”
“Ya gotta redo your Amazon Author Central page and add pages in other countries.”
“Ya gotta get the dishwasher, clothes washer, and dryer serviced before the warranties run out.”
“Ya gotta read the newspaper today because you vowed to do that everyday until COVID is gone.”
“Ya gotta get to the DMV to send for the title of the car you paid off with some of the COVID money.”
“Ya gotta spiff up all the sales pages for all your books and stories currently available on Amazon.”
“Ya gotta back up everything on your desktop computer somewhere else, because Jess says your hard drive is dying, so you don’t lose anything important like the novel you’re writing.”
“Ya gotta get somebody over here to fix the broken door to the garden shed before the raccoons set up housekeeping in there when winter sets in. Also you need to get somebody to fix the rotten window frames, fix the ceiling in the front bathroom, and fix the . . .”
“Ya gotta reformat all your books and publish them all the platforms, not just Amazon, so you can maybe make some money off of them. But oh no,” the voice in my head says. “You can’t do that right now because first you need to redo the covers of some of your fairy tale mysteries. And anyway, why bother with doing that because you haven’t made any money off your books right now. What makes you think you ever will?”
And so the maddening mix of personal, household, and authorial “ya gottas” has continued in my head until one recent afternoon during a walk around the neighborhood with my daughter, I started crying about it. That got a stare from the guy who stopped his car at the intersection so we could cross the street. And then Jess said something that I’ve repeatedly told my students over the years. I’ve also said it to myself and to Jess about her own creative work. “Mom,” she said. “Ya gotta put your creative work first because it’s the thing that nurtures you and gives you joy. All the other stuff ya gotta do gotta wait till later.”
And finally, the voice in my head shut the hell u
So I’m pleased to say that Die by the Sword is going well, and I’ve now increased my word count from the 23,000 words I mentioned in my previous newsletter to 51,475 words, so I think the book is more than halfway done. Also I’ve done a couple of versions of the cover, but I didn’t like the advice my art teacher gave me on the one featuring the full length, slantwise sword, and there are copyright issues with both, so it’s back to the drawing board. But it will get there.
FYI: Novel Basics, a concise yet complete guide to writing a novel, is on sale for only $0.99 from October 24 through October 30 at www.amazon.com/dp/B07K2LXFRP and for £0.99 at www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07K2LXFRP.
Stay safe and well, Juliet.
P. S. Our sweet Safa boy, shown at the top of the page with some of my books, says “Hey!”