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I’ve crossed roads without looking, when my brain is in la-la writing mode

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Rebecca Eckler says that writing is much like an addiction and a book can be as laborious as child labour | Photo: Unsplash

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“The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing: isolated, neurotic, caffeine-addled, crippled by procrastination, and that’s on a good day.”

– from Robert De Niro’s presentation for the Best Screenwriting category at the 2014 Academy Awards.

I’m kvelling over authors right now, especially those whose books were supposed to be published, before COVID hit. Imagine working so hard on a project, sometimes for years, only to have it released to no fanfare, or to learn the publication date has been moved to next year. 

One author called me, in tears, because she had just learned from her publisher that her book that was supposed to be published in April, was put off entire year for its launch. She was so upset.

Rightfully so. But I had told her, “No, no! You want to wait! Everyone is still covering COVID, so you won’t get much, if any, press. You can’t go on a book tour. You can’t read at festivals, and you can’t even throw a proper launch party. Bookstores are closed, so it really is better to wait, no matter how disappointing it is. If no one knows you have published a book, how are they going to read it, let alone buy it?”

Without traditional means of distribution, sales and marketing, author tours cancelled, and Amazon too busy delivering food and toilet paper, publishers know the last few months were not an ideal time to launch a book.

Myself, I thought I was done writing books, after my latest memoir Blissfully Blended Bullshit was published last Spring. I am continually kvelling over my most candid memoir about my experience blending families and then un-blending. You can buy it here. (You didn’t think I wasn’t going to self-promote? An author has to hustle!)

But the other day I woke up with a burst of creative energy, that I haven’t felt for months. You’d think I’d kvell over this newfound motivation. And I did kvell for exactly 18.5 minutes. Writing a book is also so hard, and so emotionally draining.

And I wonder: can I do it yet again? Do I really want to?

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By way of example, for my last book, I had spent nine months religiously getting up at the ungodly hour at 4:45am to write every single day, plus seven hours each Saturday and Sunday. In the amount of time it took me to get a first draft in, I could also have just as easily conceived, carried, and popped out a baby.

And yet, I do almost get “drug-like” shaky and sweaty, if I don’t get my “writing fix.” Writing is an addiction to me. Rainer Maria Rilke, widely recognized as one of the most lyrically intense German-language poets said: “In the deepest hour of the night, confess to yourself that you would die if you were forbidden to write. And look deep in your heart where it spreads its roots, the answer, and ask yourself, must I write?”

So I asked, “Rebecca? Must you write?”

Even though I kvetch how much work it takes, I found myself nodding, “Yes! I must! I must!

Rebecca Eckler says the writer's life is crazy and like being in la-la land | Photo: Pixabay

Writing is all-consuming for me. Once I get an idea, half my brain will remain in the real world, and the other half, thinking about the book I’m writing. I have almost gotten hit by cars, because I’ll be thinking about something I need to add to my book. I’ve crossed roads without looking, when my brain is in la-la writing mode.

And my son will be like, “Mommy, you just gave me chopsticks to eat peanut butter for dinner. Mommy? Mommy?!

Like many, I’m always saying I’m a “member of the tribe.”  Meaning the Jewish Tribe. But there is also an entire “tribe” behind every book, that makes the process that much more complicated.

Most people don’t understand how many people it takes to get your manuscript into bookstores. There are editors (and rewrites) and proofreaders (and rewrites) and lawyers (and rewrites) and designers (and rewrites) and marketing and sales teams (and rewrites) and booksellers (and rewrites) and publicists (and rewrites.)

Publishers know, sometimes two years in advance, books they plan to publish. The schedule is so strict that if you miss your editing deadline, it’s like missing your connecting plane, but one million times worse.

Finally, I kvell over avid book lovers, because you are awesome (especially those who actually buy the book.) So in this spirit, here’s a link to Spring and Summer books that were supposed to be published, or have, with little fan fare. The Jewish Tribe, I find, are the most avid readers, so kvell to your friends about books you have recently found and loved.

Because the Writer’s Tribe needs our help.

Rebecca Eckler is the internationally bestselling author of ten books, including Knocked Up, How to Raise a Boyfriend, and Blissfully Blended Bullshit. She is the Executive Editor of SavvyMom.ca

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Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

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