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Write Me a Book as Fast as You Can!

Many of us grew up reciting nursery rhymes from Mother Goose. The other day I was thinking about how chaotic the writing life sometimes is. We live from deadline to deadline or feel like we’re stuck on an assembly line that slowly picks up speed. It’s easy to keep up at first, but pretty soon it gets harder and harder, until one day we burn out. Or lose the love. There’s no happy-ever-after, if you lose the love.

Enter Mother Goose and her rhymes. I was listening to a radio program, and someone mentioned the Pat-a-Cake rhyme. There are different versions of it, but this is the one I recited with my kiddos when they were little:

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man.
Bake me a cake as fast as you can;
Roll it and pat it and mark it with a “B”
And throw it in the oven for baby and me. 

Well, I’m on deadline (imagine that!) and started inserting “write me a book as fast as you can” in place of baking cakes. And it struck home. Hard. That’s how I approach writing. Write that book as fast as you can. And write the next one even faster. So here’s my corny and not-so-funny version of the rhyme:

Plot-a-book, plot-a-book, writer man.
Write me a book as fast as you can;
Craft it and type it and mark it with “The End”
And start it all again…before you hit “send.”

Isn’t that how we feel sometimes? Like we just need to crank that book out in a hurry, because there’s another one in line waiting to be written. And soon, it turns into a scene from Lucy and the chocolate factory: 

So I’m not coming to you with advice. Or candies wrapped in neat little packages. I just want to say that sometimes writing is messy. And hard. And there are times I just want to sweep those chocolates off the belt and start from scratch. Oh, and remember that deadline I mentioned? Well, that book was due…yesterday!

20 responses to “Write Me a Book as Fast as You Can!”

  1. I love your version. Made me chuckle. I feel this way every morning when I have only an hour to write. What I try to remember is that a small ride on the tread mill every day will have better results.

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    • Tina Beckett says:

      Oh I love that, Autumn! After pulling an all nighter last night and finally turning my book in at six this morning, I am going to take your advice to heart. I’ve always been a “binge” writer, often spending ten hours in a chair at a shot and then not returning to it for weeks. If I spent ONE hour a day for ten days I would get the same amount done and not be as burned out! Thank you!

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  2. Addison Fox says:

    Tina – I love your new version of the rhyme!!!

    And there are definitely days when it feels like we’re on the writers treadmill. Wishing you a strong and speedy race to that finish line!!

    Addison

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    • Tina Beckett says:

      It’s finished, thank goodness! I wrote my blog piece in the middle of finishing the last 25 pages, so I was hoping it made sense. I needed the break. And that Lucy scene always makes me laugh!

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  3. Jennifer Bray-Weber says:

    Very cute, Tina. And oh-so-accurate! I am definitely relating to Lucy and Ethel. If only I could write faster. But sadly, I am not at that stage in my career. Kids and work suck the life from me. But someday I’m hoping to catch up in the race.

    Good luck on meeting your deadline!

    Jenn!

    Jenn!

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    • Tina Beckett says:

      I understand the pull of other things in life! I had to cut back on contest judging due to other obligations, and that made me sad, because I loved it. And Nationals is not in the cards for me this year. Which also makes me sad.

      I hope life slides you a few good days so you can get back to your wonderful stories!

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  4. Kate Parker says:

    Love your version of the nursery rhyme!

    I find it’s worse when there’s another story smack up behind the one I’m working on, threatening to jump onto the page. Then my fingers can’t type fast enough.

    Good luck with the deadline!

    Kate

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    • Tina Beckett says:

      Thanks Kate! I hit send this morning. My husband was getting up as I was headed for bed. 🙂

      And yes on the new stories not wanting to wait their turn. My fingers always itch to open a new file and give them just a little attention.

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  5. June Love says:

    Tina, what a cute version for writers. I’ll probably be saying all day in my head. 🙂 I also love that scene from Lucy. It’s a classic.

    I have ideas battling to come out, but unfortunately, I’m not a fast writer. I’m all the way at the other end of the spectrum. If I’m on a timer, I tend to panic and no words will flow. I want to learn to writer faster and hopefully, one day it will happen.

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    • Tina Beckett says:

      June, I wonder if you might actually get more accomplished at your steady pace than I do at my erratic one. I think every writer has to find what works for them. I thought binge writing was it for me, but now I’m not so sure. Maybe it’s just the end-of-the-book blues talking.

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  6. Julia Day says:

    Okay, now I’m going to spend the day thinking about nursery rhymes and see if I can adapt one too 🙂

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    • Tina Beckett says:

      Ha ha, Julia! Don’t do it. It’ll end up going through your head on an endless loop. Well, that may just be me. My brain is always looking for ways to dodge work. 🙂

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  7. Heather McCollum says:

    Love your adaptation!
    Yes, I feel like I have to get that book done so I can start the next and then the next and then the next…

    It can definitely lead to burn out. So I’ve started cutting myself off. I figure out how many words I need to write a day and once I hit that, I try to get off the computer and do something else, like clean or garden or shower. I look at my calendar for the week, and if I know I won’t get my words in one day (like tomorrow when I’m taking the kiddos to the zoo), then I work more words in the rest of the days.

    But knowing I don’t just have to sit at the computer until I bleed out each day, makes the patty-cake game doable. And it’s a good thing that, although it is hard, we love writing.

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    • Tina Beckett says:

      Heather that is great advice. Sometimes, when I’m on a roll, I’ll write for hours at a time. But then the next day the thought of sitting down with my computer isn’t very appealing. There are so many other things I could be looking at–like Pinterest. Ha!

      And yes, in the end, it’s a great job and one I love. I just need to be less erratic about it and more productive!

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  8. LOL. I love it! We work so hard to get on the hamster wheel in the first place and then we make ourselves crazy trying to STAY on. Good luck with your deadline, Tina!

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  9. Darynda Jones says:

    LOL! So cute! I totally agree. Writing is messy and hard and you just have to deal with it and carry on. I very much feel like Lucy in that classic clip. Thanks for the fun! ~D~

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    • Tina Beckett says:

      Ha, Darynda, I sooooo get that Lucy clip. Not just in the writing area of my life but in most every area.

      As hard as it is, I do love writing. Just not every day. 😉

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  10. Gwyn says:

    I read this and laughed. Remember when we all thought having deadlines and whatnot would be good problems to have? Yeah. Those were the days. Great post.

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    • Tina Beckett says:

      I do remember those days and know I shouldn’t be lamenting those deadlines. It’s not the deadlines that are the problem but my time management skills!

      But every once in a while, it’s fun to shake my fist at my them and pretend they’re the real villain of my story. Even if they’re not. 😉

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