Procrastination and Perseverence

In January of this year, I declared on this blog that I’d complete a book by the end of this year. I’d like to report that I’m making great progress — in my mind. Few words have made it onto my virtual pages, alas.

We read so many grim books in my book club that we were delighted to read this hilarious, perceptive, heart-felt book in which we actually cared about the characters.

I was inspired recently to get back to work when I went to a fund-raiser for a local hospital.  (Thanks to my great friend Joy for inviting me!)  One of the speakers was Helen Simonson, an author whose first book I’d read and really enjoyed. “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand” was a delightful, touching and very funny book. I could easily picture this well-drawn English village and its characters, so different from my own neighborhood in many ways, but very similar in others. My book club read the book, and it’s been one of the few that we all liked. It’s a tough crowd.

From Simonson’s website:
When Major Pettigrew, a retired British army major in a small English village, embarks on an unexpected friendship with the widowed Mrs. Ali, who runs the local shop, trouble erupts to disturb the bucolic serenity of the village and of the Major’s carefully regimented life.

Helen Simonson.

The title of Simonson’s speech was “Perseverence. ” Simonson said that it took her five years to write the book, “The first four and a half I didn’t do very much.” I’ve got the procrastination part of the equation pretty much taken care of.

Simonson was in a graduate program, and her novel was her thesis. As the deadline neared, she really got into gear. I hope I don’t wait until November to get moving. Is there anyone out there who needs an online writing partner? We can grant each other master’s degrees when we finish!  I’ll just be happy to finish. Simonson got a book deal through an agent within a week of finishing her book!

After the luncheon, I got a chance to meet Simonson, but I didn’t tell her that I was a wanna-be novelist. We’re a dime a dozen, I’m sure.

Helen Simonson’s Website.  You can find Simonson on Facebook, too.

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8 Comments

Filed under Authors, Books, Entertainment, Europe

8 responses to “Procrastination and Perseverence

  1. I’d be your writing partner, but I’ve already got a master’s degree. Are you passing out doctorates? I have a children’s book in mind, but I’m not prone to make any rash claims or setting deadlines. (That would be like saying I’m going to take off some weight and then being caught with my hand in the cookie jar.) It would be nice to write said book before I die though.

    I read portions of Stephen King’s book On Writing to my third graders, though I haven’t read any of his books and have to skip over his cocaine use. It’s quite a brilliant book, if only because he talks about how everything is in the rewrite. I always tell my students words don’t just flow. Well, sometimes they do, but those times can be few and far between.

    What I love about blogging is that I’m the one to hit Publish. Finding an agent and all that is what seems so tedious, but that’s just a grand excuse. I hate to resort to quoting Nike, but just “Do it!”

    Don’t sneer at a second master’s degree! However, perhaps I could become a doctorate diploma mill! I’m planning to publish on Amazon, where I think there is no one between you and your mistakes. You upload, and then you’re open for business. I wonder whether you can edit after publishing? Update on WordPress is a godsend when you see typos and foggy writing. Cathy

  2. Write a book? Wow. I like to keep my goals more realistic. Right now I’ve got two. Invent a totally new form of music and give a speech at TED. That’s all.

    I’d love to write a book, too. First I need to learn how to write.

    I recently purchased writing software from Apple’s app store. It gives me more of a sense that I’m a writer. I love illusions.

    Would love to hear more about what you are up to and, of course, offer my most sincere encouragement. Get ‘r done!

  3. How wonderful to be able to meet Simonson and talk to her, even without telling her your aspiration. I think it’s apt that you pair up these two words in your title: procrastination and perseverance. Often it’s hard to distinguish them… and of course we’d like to think of the latter more. I know what you mean… I’ve a screenplay underway and it’s been almost two years now. As for Major Pettigrew>/em>, I’ve been waiting in line for it at our public library for months now. It’s on my TBR list for some time now.

  4. Yeah! So exciting to hear about this writing goal of yours! Can you discuss what the subject of this book might be? :>) I also, have many ideas about writing, but alas, I can’t give it any attention right now at this time in my life! I am excited to suggest Major Pettigrew’ s Last Stand to my book club for discussion. We seem to have been on a series of flop book titles club lately! We need something to revive us all, especially since 2 of the women live an hour and a half away, it needs to matter and make a difference! Open for ideas & suggestions~ BTW?
    My book is a mystery sort of in the Agatha Christie mode, but set in a Midwestern housing subdivision, rather than a quaint English village. I’ve got the victim and a whole raft of suspects and motives. I’m stalled at making it all work seamlessly and without giving away the game. I feel that I must have the whole thing plotted before actually writing it. I’m still working on the characters.

    As for book suggestions, I should start posting on Blatherblog again, which was the blog I started for our book club. We’ve been reading Vietnam War books lately, which were very good, but depressing. One is “Matterhorn” by Karl Marlantes. Cathy

  5. I just wanted to say that I picked up a copy of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand and am loving it. I, who only drink iced beverages, actually made myself a cuppa tea today! It’s a lovely read. I suppose that at one point, Helen Simonson was also in procrastination mode, or did she say as much? Cheers to her for soldiering through and producing a delightful read.

    Simonson’s book was a thesis for a graduate writing program, so she had a deadline. Like many of us, she didn’t do very much work until the last few months before the deadline. Simonson said that it took her five years to write the book, “The first four and a half I didn’t do very much.” Cathy

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  7. I can’t wait anymore… just ordered it via Bookdepository. Thanks to your post, I’m not procrastinating this time. 😉

  8. Oh how I can identify with you! I too have been struggling with two stories that I am working on – the first has taken me 7 years! and the other is about 2 years now.

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