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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Don't You Just Hate Transition?

The state of my writing: Plotting and character development on one of my current WIPs.

The state of my reading: I'm looking at The Shack. (No... really, I'm just looking at it. The cover is closed and everything.) Have not been able to bring myself to read it yet. I will, though. Hubby and oldest daughter did, and cried. Very revelatory for those of us who are Christians and who find, on occasion, we are stuck in the traditional thought patterns of man and the way man thinks "religion" should be, versus what God thinks about everything. A beautiful and anointed work of fiction, I've heard excerpts from my hubby's download of the book on CD. Now, after someone bought the book for me, I must bring myself to read it in full. I'm all about the grace of God and having an honest relationship instead of empty religious rituals and superficial actions. But, that's just me.

Now, moving on. Maybe it's because I haven't even begun to plan the preschool graduation program, or complete my notes for my upcoming women's conference on May 8th and 9th. Or, maybe it's because I'm still a little out of sorts with my Grandmother's passing away, or what I thought I loved about my MS, I'm struggling to now embrace. But, I'm second guessing myself in all areas. Even my current WIPs are giving me grief.

I think that I need a vacation.

My head isn't very clear right now. I'm not sure which road to turn down. I'm directionally challenged. It's like there's been a ten car pile-up in my brain, and I'm stuck until the emergency teams come to clear out everything and wave me on through. Hopefully, they'll wave me in the right direction.

I usually feel pretty confident about my writing skills. Disclaimer: I'm certainly not saying that I feel as though I have arrived. That's quite obvious. I still have so much to learn and many areas to grow and develop in. But, overall, I usually feel as though I'm a pretty good writer with a lot of promise. Today, well, actually over the past several days, I've been questioning myself on that score.

I feel like I'm in that transition period of labor and delivery. You know, ladies? The few minutes between transitioning from contracting and laboring to the actual delivery of the beautiful gift. It's a time of "self-doubt" mode. You question EVERYTHING.

"I can't do this, put it back in, please!"
"What do you mean you can't do this? You're doing it right now!" dear hubby or the doc and nurses say.
"No... no, I'll just carry it a little longer, if you don't mind," you answer, panting heavy with the fear of the unknown.
"You can't carry this any longer. You have to push," the doc says firm and bold.
"Yeah, sweetheart, you have to do this," dear hubby says.
"Shut up! I'M NOT READY FOR THIS!" you scream in defiance. Truly believing, if only for that moment, you are not equipped or capable of bringing a treasure into the world.

That's where I am right at this very moment. I'm in full-on self-doubt mode. I'm just telling it like it is. Those of you who know me, know that I 'm a transparent person (well, not literally, although that would be pretty cool at times). I have my moments of just opening up and pouring it out. It's not always pretty.

I find at times that I struggle between the many hats that I wear. Wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, academy director, kid pastor's wife, writer, artist, and, occasional women's conference speaker. Jack-of-all-trades and master of none. There's so much I want to do, and so much I wish to accomplish. Everything right now is vying for my time and attention. I guess that's why I feel a little overwhelmed and unsure about my writing. I'm not having a clear and concise direction. I think I've hit the dreaded "writer's block" with regard to my current WIPs, and have been gripped with serious trepidation with my completed MS.

If I don't hear from the agent who has my current query and first 10 pages, I think I may just put it aside again, and move on to my new ideas. Maybe, it wasn't meant to be. Maybe it was a cathartic exercise. Maybe the timing is all wrong. All I know is that I've poured my heart in to it, and have revised and rewritten it several times over the past three years. If I do have to "bury" it in a drawer, at least I can say that it served a fantastic purpose. It got me to write, and to write with a passion. It was the vehicle that transported me from "thinking" about becoming a writer, and honestly becoming one. For that, I'm thankful.

If I've learned anything over the past several years in my personal life, it's that getting from point A to point B is seldom ever a straight line. And, I have to be okay with that.


Shoe Mood:

Need to relax and go with the flow of life.


Bish Denham said...

How many agents have seen your work? How many times have you sent out your MS? How long have you been working at it and/or sending it out?

Remember it can take a long time to find an agent or a publisher. I am (I'm sure) quite a bit older and I am not giving up. Neither can you.

Now if you need to put your current work aside and start something new, that's purfectly fine. But you cannot let that inner editor take over your mind. She is a crab and a nag and a downer. How do I know? I struggle daily with my own nag.

Onward through the fog, CJ. Full steam ahead and damn the torpedoes.

CJ Raymer said...

Thanks, Bish! I really appreciate the encouragement. My MS has been rejected twelve times.

Once, I came painfully close to representation. The agent asked me to rewrite for MG because my writing for YA was not "snarky" or edgy enough. So, I did. Then it was too edgy for MG and he felt that overall, my writing is stronger as YA. But being that I'm not edgy enough for YA (I walk that fine thin line of being a writer who happens to be a Christian, and not a "Christian Writer")he didn't feel he could place it at that time, even though he felt my writing was very strong. Still wants to see my future stuff though.

I now have a query into an agent who I believe, may understand my situation. This agent reps my kind of writing. But, if my writing isn't strong enough for this person, it's not strong enough. Or, if the story doesn't resonate for them, well, that's the way the cookie crumbles. Overall, I've been reworking and querying for three years (I did, however, put it away for a while before pulling it back out again).

I'm not giving up on my writing, I'm just a little "ho-hum" at the moment. I think I just have a lot on my plate, and I'm feeling squished. Thanks again, sweet friend!


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