Five years ago I was only beginning my writing journey. I had started writing a romantic suspense story, but it fizzled out half way through—right in the middle. I realized that though I loved these characters and much of the storyline, it wasn’t what I really loved to read or write. I just liked the idea of it. I was ready to try again.
Next I penned my middle grade fantasy novel, whose idea came to me on a lazy summer afternoon when I was a young girl. I had daydreamed about this idea for years before I ever thought I’d put pen to paper. When I finished it, it was my first whole manuscript, but it still wasn’t quite right. I did present this story to agents and editors at conferences, and they liked the idea, but said there was something missing. So, I kept trying.
My second book was a spiritual warfare novel which I still love to this day. There was so much about the story that was right, but there was much about it that was not quite there yet. I had a couple of nibbles from publishers, but nothing that panned out. I kept typing away.
The next story was one that you sit down to write and it just flows. Pages would fly by as I typed my merry heart away at this story that had to have been delivered to my brain directly by God above. There was no way I was coming up with this stuff, it was too good.
Half way through this novel my husband’s grandfather died. My muse shriveled up. When word came through that summer that the Missouri River was going to flood our area, my muse gave notice and moved to another universe. I struggled with this story so I began writing one another one. It worked until my brother had a massive heart attack. I was by his side in the hospital room for the month it took him to recover before tragedy happened, my mother collapsed and passed away. I was beside myself.
For the next year and a half nothing I wrote felt right. I had enough written to take to my critique group for some time, but eventually I ran out of stuff to bring. I began to wonder if this is really what I’m meant to do. What if my muse left me for good?
I found things to do that were creative. It kept my brain functioning and working its way through the emotional fog until one day I was able to sit down and make sense of what I was writing. I finished both of the above novels and while I got a few more nibbles, I received no concrete requests for them.
Last year while my husband was watching a fishing show an idea came to me. I worked on editing my other novels as I plotted this idea out in my mind. I outlined it during a writer’s retreat last spring and got the story started by writing a handful of chapters. I set it away while editing my two other manuscripts. Then during NANOWRIMO last November I took that ‘fishing’ story idea and wrote, wrote, wrote. Over fifty thousand words later and the novel was done except for the last chapter.
I finished that chapter last night. I’m on my first edit on that story and feel pretty confident in the content. During the process of getting this book written, which is quite a departure for me by the way, I figured out what I do best is write about small town life. This new story is an adult romance, but there’s still an element of fantasy in it with the main character making a wish. In the end the wish comes true, although my poor protagonist gets put through the wringer throughout the story. I can identify. My path to getting to this point in my writing career has not been a smooth or an easy one. I’ve had to hold tight to my dedication in making it this far. And I still have a few steps to go before I can say my wish has come true.
The last five years held highs and lows for me. I fought through it all and finished five manuscripts. I;ve learned a lot and I’m ready for the next five years.
One song I listened to during this process was Five for Fighting’s The Riddle. I think it’s appropriate to celebrate finishing my current novel by sharing their video. Here’s The Riddle.
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