Kate Battestelli and daughter Francesca
Battestelli (yes, that Francesca Battestelli)
Guest post by Kate Battestelli
Author of Growing Great Kids (Charisma House 2012)
Kate's blog: www.thekitchenprincess.com
Kate on Twitter: @katebattistelli
NOTE FROM DIANA: See my intro to Kate here and why I asked her to guest-post on my blog.
Back in June 2010, I first got going on my book Growing Great Kids. I thought, piece of cake. I’ll get this puppy done by September. What’s that saying, “Pride goeth...?” It took a year for me to finish it. My heart rushed way ahead of my head, and for that matter, so did life!
During the first six months of writing, my daughter had a baby (our first grandbaby) and my husband lost his job. Both of those events took a lot of time away from writing, but once January came I knew I had to buckle down and get it done. Around March, I began to get some interest from publishers, which put the pressure on even more to finish my book.
The thought of writing is way easier than the process of writing and in the process I discovered something radical. To get something written, you actually have to sit down and write. Stunning, I know.
"Just say no"
Sometimes I had to "just say no" to lunch with friends or to American Idol, volunteering or even having a clean house. There were days when dinner didn’t get cooked and we made do with takeout.
Life happens and there is nothing we can do about it. But we can set goals and set aside things that aren’t going to get us closer to the finish line.
My goals were modest. I was hoping to write a chapter a week, but in truth that didn’t happen till the last few months when the pressure was on. I work well under pressure, yet I found I had to put pressure on myself when it wasn’t coming from the outside.
The "tyranny of the urgent" will often raise its ugly head, but it boils down to how much you value what you have to say. If there is a book inside you and you know it, it will take everything in you to make it happen.
Here are some things that worked for me. My husband kept me accountable and on task. So if possible, find an accountability partner who can help you focus.
Also it was invaluable to have the structure from Diana Scimone, my wonderful writing coach. She took my embryo of an idea and helped me shape an elevator statement and objectives for my book. Then we worked on the chapters, broke them down into digestible chunks, and came up with a workable outline. I depended on that outline countless times during the writing process.
She believed in the book living in me but not yet down on paper and it made a huge difference. It’s one thing for me to believe it, quite another when someone else is cheering you on from the sidelines.
My advice: Value the book inside you. Set reasonable goals, sit down and write.
It won’t be easy but nothing worth having ever is. Oh, and I’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines!