Getting up in the middle of winter when it’s still dark has been, to say the least, a chore. I hate the cold and though the Gold Coast doesn’t really get COLD compared to a lot of places, I feel it. I feel it in my knees which now click and ache. I feel it in my fingers and toes because they somehow miss out on good circulation no matter what time of year it is. For instance when I used to play touch footy in the chilly valley of Bilambil night-time in winter I’m sure you could have chipped my feet with a snow pick.
Anyway I’m not complaining, really. I’ll get up rain, hail or cold just to enjoy the morning. Okay, I’m not technically enjoying it, because I’m doing a group session with the PT and sometimes these exercises are bordering on torture. If you’ve ever heard of a Froggy you’ll know what I mean. Sometimes we can’t walk the next day. Anyhoot, pain and cold days aside we are losing weight, toning up and feeling healthy. I guess we look better too. At least the other girls do. There’s no sign of tuckshop-lady arms and tummies are flattening and bums shrinking. (Unfortunately so are my boobs.)
Even when we’re running up the headland’s stairs, avoiding lizards and bush turkeys and puffing like steam trains, we know it’s worth the effort. When we reach the top the PT (my son Joel) has us doing jump squats but in between each pumping squat we watch the sun rising over the water.
The orange/red ribbons of clouds over an ocean that is shrouded in mist heralds another perfect day in paradise. The pandanus around the boardwalk are silhouetted by the sun and the first surfers are already catching waves that are smooth and dark like mercury. Suddenly I remember why I love mornings. There is nothing like the smell and sight of a fresh day. Nothing else can fill your lungs with life.
“How beautiful is that?” someone asked.
“I wouldn’t be anywhere else,” I say and I’ve forgotten how hard it was to get up when my phone alarm went off and I wanted to curl back under the doona. I’ve forgotten how I tripped over my runners on the way to get dressed in the bathroom, got to the bathroom and the light had blown, swore and my husband woke up and said, “Just turn the damn bedroom light on.” (I was trying not to wake him at 5.15am).
I’ve forgotten how I was still yawning as I sipped a cup of coffee to wake me up and how I could still see stars as I headed to the car, still rubbing my numb fingers.
As soon as that morning sun comes up I realise I have started my day the perfect way with a sunrise over Greenmount.
I set myself a deadline to finish my latest novel ‘Finding Tarzan’ by mid July. I’d calculated how many chapters, how many words per chapter, how long I take to write and edit and then figured on a finish date. The finish date is 14th July. Ooops that’s only seven days away – what the!
And where am I in the novel, you may well ask and I’d have to tell you Chapter 15. Where I need to be is chapter 22 (and that may not even tie things up so it may go further – maybe to chapter 25).
So what do I do now? Should I throw the manuscript away in disgust because I failed? Rant and rave and throw a tanty (blaming my family because they just don’t get it)? OF COURSE NOT. I count myself as a writer (a professional one at that) so I need to get myself back on course.
Okay, I’m a little disappointed in myself that I didn’t stick to my plan, so disappointed that I resorted to a cream-filled lamington to cheer me up (don’t tell Joel) and luckily this deadline is just my own. But what if it were a publisher’s deadline instead? I’d be in a stickier situation than I am now. I may have my contract ripped up. I may lose all credibility. It could be suicide to my writing career to say the least. It just proves that my original plan had merit and is good training for a real set-in-mud deadline.
Why did I let this happen? All I can say is that life got in the way. There was a family wedding (Kris and Elise), more games of football, school assignments (that I had to help Blake with or he would fails math), parties, dinners other writing and even housekeeping.
STOP right there! Housekeeping! Now where were my priorities? I really wanted to finish this manuscript. Again I have to take stock of what is important – and to me that is WRITING. So I’ll write up a new plan because now I’ll have to get the last seven or so chapters finished in a month. Why a month? Just because, okay!
Or maybe I should ditch the plan and just write, write and write. I’ll ignore phone calls, children whining for food, Boss the dog barking to be let out to wee, Packed to the Rafters, my mum’s phone calls (ah, nah can’t do that one), my husband (can do that, sorry honey), the boiling kettle, the burnt dinner – everything.
Anyhow the new deadline is August 14th. Wish me luck and any suggestions will be gratefully appreciated.