A Writer’s Blessing in a Season of Blessings

pink glitter wallpaper for walls

A couple of days ago, I received an email response to my query letter emailed to a publisher, re-presenting my novel, Passage of Promise, via a blurb, to them.

I’d sent them a query last year in March, and their editor said it had promise (I know… great pun, but it wasn’t intended, I’m sure :D), and to work on my story and resubmit it later.

This current email requested a synopsis and the first thirty pages of my manuscript. Yea!

I got it out to them the next afternoon, with a LOT of help from my editor (polished my synopsis and formatted my document for the publisher to read). She’s invaluable!

They answered me a couple hours later to confirm they received my attached documents and would get back to me as soon as they could. They also wished me a blessed Nativity. In return I thanked them for this opportunity and wished them the same.

Now, I wait.

A few of my friends I told this to were anxious for me, telling me I must be on “pins and needles” waiting to hear. Actually, I’m quite calm, doing all right.

This whole process… the fact that they wanted to see samples of my work… is a blessing in its own.

I will understand if I don’t hear anything until after the New Year because of the upcoming holidays.

If they respond before the holidays, and my work is accepted, it’ll be the biggest, most exciting Christmas present I’ve gotten in years.

sparkly gold present

This whole process has been surreal and thrilling. Whatever happens, I know my work is worth something. Worth a lot. My writing is a gift from God.

A Season of Blessings. What Joy.

 

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Getting That First Draft Done…Like, Now

painting of author stuck

As I continue revising, editing, and polishing my novel, Passage of Promise, as it runs through my online critique group, in my spare time, I drop into my novella, Mourning Dove,  switching it from first to third person as I did with my novel because I prefer that. I’ve also revised sections and added scenes. Actually, I still have a few more scenes I need to add that were prompted through beta reader and hubby feedback.

But in the past couple of days, I’ve reached to the back burner where my WIP (work in progress), What She Didn’t Know, has been sitting the last two months, waiting to have me add scenes and chapters.

So, I wrote up a scene and chapter yesterday, and it felt good. I wasn’t sure I could get back into the story, but what always helps me is reading previous chapters to prime the creative pump and get myself back into the lives of the three sisters in the case of this story.

Yesterday, I shared with my husband the many plot points and my characters in my WIP. After explaining all the different relationship conflicts with each of the three sisters, my husband said, “What is this? A soap opera?” Haha!

I told him these types of storylines often go through my head. I asked his opinion on one of my ideas for one of the minor characters (one that could be fatal or not fatal). He chose the second and said, “I think there’s already enough drama.”

Oh, but we writers thrive on drama with our characters. It’s called conflict in the world of writers. 😀

I started What She Didn’t Know January 14, 2018. A freaking year ago! I can’t believe I haven’t finished it yet!

Three months. I’m giving myself three months to at least write as many of the chapters I’ve got notes on as I can, hoping the first draft will be done by the end of that time period. If not, at least it’ll be close.

writing's hard gif

First drafts can be very difficult. I’ve read plenty of articles of fellow writers struggling to finish their novels. I blame my half-done piece on working on my other done pieces.

It’s never taken me this long to write a story of any type. It’s time to hunker down.

All fellow writers struggling through their first drafts, let’s unite in getting them done before summer!

And DON’T GIVE UP! You know your story is good and worth the effort! Your characters are calling your name, telling you they’re waiting for their next encounters, next conflicts, next DRAMA. 😉

Happy writing!

 

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Breaking from Writing and the Consequences

writing exhaustion pic

What if I stop writing for a while?  What if taking this hiatus is not because I have no choice but precisely because I do?

About a month ago, I’d reached writing and creativity exhaustion, so much so that even when I’d forced myself to write at least a few sentences or a paragraph, nothing but stale, dry, lifeless words settled on the page.

You see, at this time, I’d finished my current revisions and my editor had done her thing in supplying me with superb proofreading, editing, and suggestions for my characters and plot for my novel, Passage of Promise.

But at the same time, I’d entered my subsequent university course in fascinating American Art.  It was one of the required general education exploration courses available for me to choose. My courses are eight weeks long.  By mid term, the college load was like swimming in an ever deepening pool, and the massive reading assignments and associated linked reading material were pulling me under.

drowning underwater pool

Overwhelmed by keeping up with my novel’s plot additions, blog posts, essays, and colossal pages to peruse and jot down notes, it was time for me to slide one of these on the shelf.

Permanently? you ask.  I sure hope not.

When you struggle with general anxiety and menopausal symptoms that trigger it (along with blood sugar issues), your brain can only take in so many mental activities at a time.  I’d reached my limit.

When this happened, I closed up my manuscript on Word, and dread hit me as I remembered the eighteen-year hiatus from writing that was broken in September 2014…not so long ago.  Was I going to end up disconnected from my writing another eighteen years?

This concern prompted me to look up information on authors/writers taking breaks.  I found a couple of articles that gave me a great sense of relief.

What I learned is breaks are not only acceptable, but necessary to regenerate your creative juices and thought processes.  And we writers make the choice on how long that break will be.  It could be a day, a week, a month, or months.

I know this is alarming and sounds close to anathema considering how often we hear and read in the writing world the mantra stressing writing at least something daily.

But please keep reading.

Via a Writer’s Edit article, it says, “If you are at the point where you are forcing a story, take this as a sign to take a break from it.”  This gave me a chance to exhale.

cartoon girl sitting in hammock

(credit:  GetDrawings.com)

The author of that article also stressed not losing the joy of writing.  Well, I’d forgotten the joy of writing.  It had become the equivalent of cramming for final exams since it was juxtaposed with my college course load.

However, another reassuring perspective came from The Writing Cooperative’s author, Ryan J. Pelton’s article on this subject, stating, “You are not weak, uncommitted, and not a true writer if you take breaks.  You will not forget how to write.”  I could sit back calmly with this tidbit.

These breaks can be used for relaxing and cleaning out your brain, for continued reading for pleasure, and an upcoming chance for new, fresh characters and storylines to surface that can be noted for later.

My plan at this time is to pick up on my novel and other writing projects after I graduate from my university at the end of October.  Then I will be free to pursue my writing without college assignment pressures.  This is my tentative schedule, and each of us makes our own.

So, if you’re feeling burnt out, or you have nothing left, take a much needed break that is as long as you choose, and look forward to sparkling, vivid tales in the very near future.

 

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Works Cited
Writer’s Edit.  “Why Taking Writing Breaks Is Important.” writersedit.com.  https://writersedit.com/fiction-writing/taking-writing-breaks-important/
Pelton, Ryan J.  “Put Down the Pen and Step Away (rest for writers).”  The Writing Cooperative.  https://writingcooperative.com/put-down-the-pen-and-step-away-rest-for-writers-44a98971db4b