The Moment To Decide: My Edition

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Friends! I have a confession to make. There is a book that I want to write, need to write, but have been pushing aside slowly and steadily over the past few months with nudges of procrastination, excuses, and, to be harshly honest, a little bit of fear.

I am referring to Science Chefs and, yes, it is the idea I’ve been ruminating on for years and, yes, it is the story I’ve written a few times over now and, yes, it is the itch I can’t scratch, the thorn in my side, the one that got away, and all that good stuff.

I would very much like to blame this lack of productivity on the little human currently wriggling on the plush elephant blanket near my feet, utterly absorbed with the brightly colored toys that whir and bop at her fairy touch. (Parents, love/hate these, amiright?)

She eats! She plays! She produces mounds of laundry! But blaming her would be lazy.

I write stories for kids. Shouldn’t my own child be nothing short of inspiration? No, the real obstacle is me.

No need to get out the tiny violins. I’m not looking for a pity party. Being a mom – a new mom – is hard. Really hard. I get that. I own that. I’m still figuring it out, taking it one day at a time. Still, I love every minute of it. I’m blessed with a strong support system, the gift of time, and the ability to devote my days to taking care of my sweet girl as we learn and grow together. Being a mom is not in my con column. It never will be.

To be fair, I haven’t completely abandoned the written word since Caroline’s birth. A few months back, I was honored to pen a story for an inspiring children’s book in celebration of the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital’s 25th Anniversary. It is in the hands of our creative illustrators now and turning out simply beautifully. I can’t wait to share further news with you in the fall!

So, now that that story is told, what’s standing in my way of tackling the newest version of Science Chefs? My agent is on board. (Thank you, Clelia!) We have a publisher in mind. (Fingers crossed!) The bones of the story are there. (Save your drafts, people!)

And yet.

I am one of the lucky ones with an agent who stays in touch, who has me on her radar always. A few weeks ago, knowing my desire to resurrect Science Chefs, she sent me some comparable titles to fan the flames. Among them, Nixie Ness Cooking Star.

Nixie Ness

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“This chapter book series pubs in June. A good comp for your food science book. You should check it out,” she wrote.

So, like any good student, I did just that and headed straight for the author, Claudia Mills’s, website. Turns out, this was just the kick in the pants I needed.

After scanning Claudia’s titles and reading about her background, I stumbled upon her blog, An Hour A Day, and experienced a phenomenon I haven’t before. She spoke directly to me. Directly. To. Me. I inhaled her words as if they were secrets meant for my eyes only. Your Book Won’t Get Written Unless You Write It. The Moment to Decide. Time Spent Dreading versus Time Spent Doing. Yes! Yes! And Yes!

The Best of It: Part II brought me to tears. (I can empathize. We’ll leave it at that. For now.)

A few of her gems:

“Yes, I learned yet again a lesson I’ve learned many times before. Although many people praise the power of subconscious creativity and the benefit of gaining perspective on a project by stepping away from it for a period of time …  I have found that the only way I have ever gotten a book written – the ONLY way – is by sitting down and starting to write it.”

“One of my favorite hymns begins, ‘Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,’ with lyrics written in 1845 by poet and abolitionist James Russell Lowell. Well, once to every woman and writer also comes the moment to decide, and this was mine.”

“I can’t just give up on these projects. And I don’t want to…This is not a sprint. It’s not even a marathon. It’s the way my life is going to be for the foreseeable future.”

“Oh, darlings, if there is something you need to write, or want to write, or vaguely feel like writing, just sit down and write it. I am here to tell you it really truly won’t get written otherwise.”

What more could a young author, a new mom, a human being possibly ask for? Claudia, if by some chance you are reading this, thank you. You have inspired and ignited me. I am ordering your books, following your blog, and pretty much girl-crushing on you from this day forward.

With that, I have decided. Taking my cue from Claudia, I am devoting an hour a day to getting Science Chefs from here to there. With Baby Girl by my side (preferably napping), I am recommitting with a renewed energy and optimism.

Stay tuned. I have a feeling this is going to be good!

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