Sunday, July 27, 2008

Writing

Being self employed had never been any goal of mine. It was something that just evolved, mostly out of desperation to be able to take care of my child, then children, on my own time. The only thing I had going for me when I started out (as a freelance) was my monthly writing gig at the National Running magazine. I've been writing this column for twelve years now. I remember the first year I wrote the column it took me almost the entire month to write, rewrite, clean it up and finally send it. Slowly over the years I've able to cut down on production time and now if I'm really pushed up against a deadline I can spit it out in a couple of days. But I'm still not able to do what I've always dreamed of and what I imagine real writers do: sit down at my desk with a cup of tea and have the words just flow from my fingers and onto the ex-paper, now computer screen. All of the sudden I'll have something much more important to do: clean up the house, look at a web page I needed to look up (which leads to never ending websurfing), write up some training schedules or whatever I can come up with to momentarily put off writing. I have tried to impose schedules, make myself sit in front of blank screens until I write, deny myself fun if I didn't get X amount of words written. And I can't say that I've ever found the winning combination. The joke of this is that writing has become my mainstay. I make my living from writing, yet I don't want to admit to myself that I am indeed a writer. In Italian even!

I'm putting the finishing touches on my book. It's a book on running for women. If you don't know me, I can affirm that I've gotten thousands of women in Italy to start running. My editor asked me to write a book for women and I will be looking for typos and errors and grammatical corrections throughout the text this next week. It took me four years to write it. Four F******* years! That's a lot of stareing at blank computer screens. At some point it started to block my entire life and I had to just get it done and over with and get on with something new. I was scared of the criticism (Italians are VERY fast at that) and whether I really had anything new or different to say. There was also the newborn, the teenager and husband who is away working 300 days a year and the other freelance jobs that I had...oh, and the housecleaning and cooking for four that seemed to take up a lot of my extra time. But now as all the pages come together I do know that my outlook is different and that my way of living sports and running is unique. I had a meeting with my editor thursday to decide on the cover graphics. What they want really shocked me and then got me excited and now seems perfect for what I have to say inside all of those pages. I can't wait to show it to you, and I will as soon as I can.

8 comments:

Shauna said...

OH JULIA i am so excited for you! And proud as punch! I need to learn Italian quick smart so I can read it :)

Shauna said...

PS i love the photos! you are stunning :)

stronger said...

Will there be an english edition? I barely pulled out a 'C' in Italian

Anonymous said...

Dear collegue writer Julia, believe me: those whose writing flow freely on the paper/screen are very often the ones with nothing to say. The truly few ones who work like this and are good writers spent their life LIVING, and learning how to write. So, imo, you're going to give birth to a FANTASTIC book - you are in the second group for sure! I'm living more or less the same moments with my book, so we can share doubts and questions about contract, graphic and "what the heck are they doing with MY book", if you want. I'm thrilled and happy for you!


rusty

anji said...

Can't wait to see it :D A four year gestational period oughta really create an awesome book, no matter what language :D

I agree, you should try and make it in english if you can... hopefully translating it wouldn't take as long :D

momo said...

julia, congratulations, truly! what an incredible accomplishment. i am with stronger, i would love to see an english version.

although my husband's family is italian, perhaps i could get someone to read it to me... :-)

Fe-lady said...

I will buy one if it's in English!
Congratulations on getting published!

Hubby and I have tried (children's and young adult materials) but it sure is difficult finding an agent that isn't talking out both sides of his/her mouth!
Can't wait to see it!

Oh-and re: F.E.S.S. photos...you notice I am not showing my face! 55 DOES catch up with one there!
Blah!

21stCenturyMom said...

Isn't that idea that writers just sit down and great stuff flows forth from the mind through the fingers a myth? I'm pretty sure it's a myth. I've read a lot of books on writing and been to a lot of book readings and I'm pretty sure that ALL writers struggle. It's all part of the process.

Congratulations on getting your book written. And once again thanks for stopping by becaue I see that a fair number of my triathlon friends are already here!