When the Heat Turns to a Simmer

The heat is on when your agent is awaiting a book you promised him about a year ago. And then he says Aug. 1 would be great!! Being a deadline-driven person (i.e. lacking any intrinsic ability to motivate myself without external fear of disappointing someone), that lit a fire under my butt.

So on Aug. 1 my agent had my book. Just in time for vacation! Now the boil has been reduced to a simmer. And it feels great, not just because I'm at the beach having fun without thinking about my characters and what they're up to but because suddenly my brain has been freed up to think about them in entirely different ways because there's no pressure. And I'm thinking about the next two books I'm writing, too. My brain has been liberated and creativity has come back to life!

Now when I get my agent's comments back I'm so ready to go! Lots of ideas on ways to improve the story. And all it took was turning down the heat. It may take a boil to get something done, but sometimes a simmer is what you need to figure out how to make it better.

And those two girls up there? That's my daughter on the right and my best friend's daughter on the left. And they're in a dressing room on Martha's Vineyard trying on winter PJs and having a blast before school starts again in a few weeks. For them, our island vacation is the simmer leading up to the boil of high school. Sometimes a simmer requires putting on funny pajamas and laughing a lot before jumping back into the pot of bubbling water!


  1. LOVE your point about letting projects simmer! (I have projects that simmer, sometimes, for years before I finally figure out how to get them on paper...)

  2. The simmer vs. boil metaphor is exactly how I feel when churning out a first draft. So true! Enjoy the rest of your summer.

  3. Absolutely true. My best ideas come when I'm not expecting them.


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