Finding One’s Way

Finding One’s WayI’ve written before about working on multiple projects.

This past  year I had a taste of what it was like to be locked into a large project with a deadline. One that involved co-writers (for the results of that project, see my post from December 16 Press Release: New Anthology).

I have to admit, while I liked working on the project itself – it was exciting! – I was anguished and frustrated over not being able to work on my other projects simultaneously. Next, of course, came the holidays, as well as some neck pain issues, which were directly related to time spent at the computer.

The holidays were finally over. People were headed home. But, unfortunately, my son-in-law, also a writer, and I had a little conversation.

You see, I had fired out a set of notes on a Hallmark-style movie idea I’d had centered on Christmas.  I figured that as I got caught up on my next two projects and got a little braver, I’d see how  you went about submitting  (and writing) a movie treatment or even a script. We all know how these big fantasies go, right? I mentioned this at the table one night when my son-in-law had his laptop up. He nodded his head and went on checking the Intenet.

“You know,” he said a few minutes later, “Hallmark is having open submissions next month for un-agented book manuscripts. I’ll send you the link.”

Ever pause to ponder how much trouble those five little words cause in this post-Internet life?

I was off. I found the link, followed it, read the blogpost it was associated with, followed the recommended Twitter account, and discovered I had basically one month to write a book in if I wanted to take advantage of this situation.  Now, I believe in myself, but I have no agent. Un-agented submission opportunities are rare, nearly nonexistent. This was not an opportunity to be squandered. But, it would mean diving into a concentrated time expense/effort that would isolate me once again from everyday life AND family AND from my other projects. I have 2 novels that have been patient with me for about as long as they can stand. I expect them to hold me hostage and demand I feed them words any day now.

BUT – the opportunity.

BUT – could I write roughly 75,000 words in 30–some days AND polish them into a state for submission? That pace is faster than NaNoWriMo, and more demanding because it has to be submission ready. The decision was not an easy one.

But I come to you now, frazzle-headed, weary, grateful for the P’T for my neck, and so distracted at my part-time job that they must think I’m a twit (a word that means ‘pregnant goldfish’, did you know that?). And I come to you roughly 18 days into this venture and slightly more than halfway done with a rough draft that I am revising on the run as my son and daughter (also writers) provide me feedback.

Those living at home gave me a thumbs up, and organized the rest of the family into my cheering section. I get to brag on my progress, and they get to applaud my efforts.

Is the manuscript  any good? Heck if I know. Right now it’s mostly draft 1.

Will I finish in time? Ditto.

Have I driven my family nuts yet? Well, so far as I can tell, not any more than usual.

What I have done, however, is lived up to the promise I made myself someplace along the way. I know I have a certain amount of talent. I know can persevere, if I only will. So the promise is this: I will try. I will always try, and try my best. I will complete this novel, and I will make it the very best I can. And, if the timing works, I will submit it.

And if the timing fails, I will submit it somewhere else, or at another time.

20171008_161016

 

Being a writer, finding your story – it’s like any endeavor in life. For any endeavor in life to succeed, you must live fully into it, give it all your effort, your best shot. That is all you can do, but it is what you must do to know you really tried.

 

Try your hardest. Find your story, find your way. And you find yourself.

 

A Little Thought Off-topic…

I initially wrote this about 5 weeks ago. In light of recent developments, I felt pressed to complete and post this personal statement.

I was re-reading the title of my previous post, Never Promise What You Can’t Deliver..., within the context of current headlines and social media.  It struck me that that is where America is now. We can’t deliver on any  of the promises we have made. Not the ones our Founding Fathers made, not the ones made by our recently past presidents (even ones I was not fond of), not the ones made by our social institutions, our education system, our health care system. None of us can deliver to our children the America whose image we held up to them in the past. We’re foundering. We have promises broken and promises yet unfulfilled.  There are NO CURRENT PROMISES WE CAN TRUST that will be helpful to any of us. And although they themselves don’t realize it, they will not even be helpful to the promisers.

In light of calls to action by so many, I had to wonder, what promises am I fulfilling? What am I doing to help? Not as much as I should. And so I recommit, to take the action of putting my talents to use to make this a better country and a better world. In our fears, purposely cultivated to keep our  eyes trained on them instead of on finding solutions, we have allowed ourselves to be paralyzed. No more.

We are here (whether by accident or design) to make this a better place for all who inhabit the planet. YES. Check your prejudices – and even your religions – at the door. We Are Here to Make this a BETTER PLACE for ALL. Because if it’s not better for some, it’s not better for anyone, and we will fail. No matter who or what you believe in, even if it’s nothing. Our job is to make  this a better place.

That is the promise we need to keep.

Think about it.

Day at the Write-in….

Spent about six hours of Saturday at our group’s write-in. We had use of an event room with its adjoining kitchen at our library. Some pot luck, a little set-up, and we had ourselves a friendly quiet location dedicated to fostering an atmosphere conducive to writing.

We had people working on designing covers for their self-published books. It’s a two-edged sword when you publish yourself. You’re in charge of everything, but that means you’re responsible for everything.

Someone was outlining a story for our group anthology. Another was working on a script. One was reviewing and revising her long-suffering book outline. Long-suffering only because even she thought she’d been working too long on it, and because the work itself has been intense. We had short stories and verse going on as well, and everyone seemed to make progress, even the writer who had to leave after coming in solely to pick up information.

20160207_210455

It’s great to stop and devote a large chunk of time to writing. I’m lucky enough to be able to do it more regularly than some of my full-time working writer friends. Even so, a special day allowed for special focus. I  hope we follow through on our idea of doing this every couple months.

 

 

 

 

.

 

 

Getting started….again

I said to people,  “Sometimes, when a building is riddled with structural problems, you just have to burn  it to the ground, and build a new one.”

Well, here I am, building.

The shortest version of what happened is that while in the midst of re-organizing my on-line presence, I learned that my base site – which was tied to just about everything I put on-line that isn’t social media – had become disastrously infected with malware. To the point of being irreparable. Too difficult for me to do and too expensive for me to hire done.  Since I was going to be re-designing everything anyway, I’ve taken the opportunity my husband pondered this might be, and now I am going for a re-branding. (I sometimes hate that word, but it applies here.)

Over the next I-don’t-know-how-long period of time, you will find me in new places on newly-designed pages. I am keeping Finding Robin’s Story. This incident is actually on-topic here, because the whole effort involved was to re-focus my material on my books and writing. It’s something you have to do as a writer, self- or traditionally published.

But my old web materials will be gone, for the most part. There will be archives here of some material, and, I  hope, lots of brand new conversations. You’ll be invited to participate, and to find and reach out to me anywhere you find me, whether it be as family, friend, reader or fellow writer. I hope to see you soon. Don’t stop looking for me.

Hint: find me at Mackenzie Wilder/Classic Boatsfor one.