I have always fantasized about being interviewed once I am a famous writer. Maybe my first interview would go like this…
#dreaminterview #susanstrasser #susanstrasserblog #amwriting
SO WHAT WAS THE BIG DEAL ABOUT HAVING YOUR LIFE LISTED ON AN EXCEL SPREADSHEET?
...continued from last week
Would you want your life listed in a spreadsheet?
Look, this is my first book. I’m still surrendering my dream to reality that it will not be a bestselling writer the instant it is released. My mindset is still that much in the clouds! Its my life. As an INFJ, 12 stepper, bi-polar, yet loving and creative soul, that is hard, cold, business-like slap in the face- to see your life on a spreadsheet.
OH, OKAY. THAT MAKES SENSE.
But that’s what is so wonderful about Laurie, and I will always be eternally grateful for- that her brief stint as my Life Coach and Developmental Editor showed me that when it’s all said and done, my book is a business. After all, I am seeking some fame and fortune as a storyteller. Who isn’t? I want to make money off my writing. And she helped me make my book 100% better. A favorite quote of mine is: “Our chief want in life is somebody who shall make us do what we can.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson. And she did that.
SO SHE SET UP THE MICROSOFT EXCEL SPREADSHEET, AND YOU BEGAN—
Actually, it was Google Sheets.
OKAY, SO SHE SET UP A GOOGLE SHEET FOR YOU TO LIST OUT THE EVENTS OF YOUR LIFE?
Yeah. Once I got over myself and opened my mind (I always thought that spreadsheets were for Math, a subject I hated), I tried to figure out what to plug in where. She had headings at the top such as ‘High Level’ and ‘Life Event” and every few rows were color coded. It translated to:
Column 1: the time period;
Column 2: the events;
and then, for Column 3, I listed the page number in the first version where this information was located.
Laurie suggested that I do a chronological story of my life, from my earliest memories to my teenage years or so, since we knew from talking that I only wanted to do my childhood for a “Volume 1.” She tasked me with reading through my first 300-page manuscript and annotating years, ages and dates in the margins-
SO YOU WERE ABLE TO RECYCLE AND REUSE A LOT OF YOUR FIRST VERSION OR DRAFT?
Yes! I like to think of it as repurposed. I had done a lot of my own research on myself, so why not use it? Then, I copied and pasted them into the spreadsheet. It seemed so boring and unglamorous! My ego was not happy but of course it made sense. The opening chapter of a flashback in Version One had not worked, so I had to try something else. Professional writers make techniques like flashbacks look so easy, but obviously it’s a lot easier read than written!
THAT SOUNDS LIKE A LOT OF WORK RIGHT THERE.
Indeed! Bottom line: writing, like any job, is work. To make my dream a reality, I had to do the work. So I did.
YOU WERE ON YOUR WAY WITH THE GOOGLE SHEET AND GOT IT FILLED IT IN?
HOW MANY EVENTS WERE THERE AT ITS COMPLETION? DID VERSION 2 START QUICKLY AFTERWARDS?
To be continued…