It is a Compulsion that I CANNOT Quench…

…this thing called writing.

It just won’t go away no matter how much I try.

Yet this same compulsion causes me so much agony.

Because I see no results.

My works languish like a worn out farm tractor sitting in a field.

Relegated to word documents that sit on my computer.  Filed away on some hard drive never to be seen.

I pray, “God direct me.  Use me.  Use this gift.”

And I feel no answer.

It frustrates me.

I’m not getting any younger.

I feel called to something more, something great even, but it never comes.

Or it’s too slow in coming.

“God’s timing.”

Yep, got it.  Doesn’t help me much though.

My YA paranormal is going nowhere.  Discouraging.

I’ve basically given up on the thing.

“Who am I?”

Not Tim Tebow.  Jenny McCarthy.  Bill Clinton.  Sarah Palin.  Or anyone else famous who has written a book.

Started a new novel this morning.

Well, not new.  It’s a resurrected idea that I plan to completely re-write.

For I can only write what I know.  What I have learned.  What I think others NEED to know before they learn it the hard way like I did.

And tears are shed…

Still, my heart remains heavy.  No relief.  Just anxiety…

I feel lost right now.  Debating about taking unpaid work (being a columnist again) just to satisfy this yearning deep within…

Debating a lot of things I could do.  Trying to come up with new ideas.

Yet my dream remains the same.

There must be room for me.  Hundreds of books are published every year.  I have a niche…

Somewhere…

For everyone has a story to tell.

I just wish (and pray) I could pinpoint mine.

When I’m Rich and Famous, I am SO Hiring a Professional Editor…

What I’m Dreaming Of…

I just spent 2 hours editing a grand total of 2 of my novel pages.

With every edit I tell myself this is the last one.  Then I convince myself to do one more reading…

Always my downfall.

So “this is my last reading.”  Was supposed to be quick.  Supposed to be…

Exasperation reigns right now.

I now know why every author thanks their editor on the “Thank You” page of their book.

And as soon as I get a novel published, I’m hiring one.

Because this stuff should DEFINITELY be left to the professionals…

Ode to the Struggling Writer…

Ode to the Struggling Writer…

 

I don’t know why I agonize

Does it matter if it’s “just” or “only”?

No one will ever read it anyways

It’s just for my eyes

Or is it only?

 

Still….

I continue anyways

Some dim hope glimmers

And pushes

Despite the meaningless I feel.

 

As time ticks by

I ebb and flow

But unlike the Moon

It matters to me.

 

And that is all I know.

Here I Go Again…

So, I’ve started going over my novel again after about a month of inactivity.  It’s one of my summer goals to finish up the editing.

Admittedly, I did not want to do this.  Thoughts kept running through my mind of, “Is this really my calling?  Why am I wasting my time again?  Maybe I should just give up…”

But you know me.  Giving up is not an option and I don’t like to lose  so I began.  I made little changes here and there that I actually liked.  And after about 2 hours of working on my first chapter, I ended the session with a bit of a high, thinking, “Okay, so this is better.”

And encouragement to continue in this endeavor.

I am also learning stuff about writing from my kids homeschool curriculum.  Where was this stuff when I was a kid?  I continually think my education was severely deprived or at least hindered when I see what my 8 year old and 7 year old are learning.  And at their age!

They are learning stuff I don’t even know!  In a way it makes me jealous, gives me incredible hope for them, and inspires me that you can teach an old dog new tricks (our saying for the week we are learning!).

It feels good to be back on track again.  I just pray this continues for the immediate future, long enough to finish this project and start seeking an agent for it.

Yet most importantly I feel continually blessed by God every day of my life.  I know no matter what happens He is there, always, by my side, cheering me on and holding me up. Forever.

I Want to Be a Novelist, Not a Columnist…

Let’s face it: none of us are getting any younger.

I have come to realize lately as my 3 year old is rapidly approaching 4 that I no longer have any “babies” in terms of needing constant care.  Which means I am getting older too.

My dream has been for a while now to be a novelist.  It is what drives me every day to do what I do.

This columnist gig was great but it takes up a lot of my writing time.  Instead of writing on my novel (which gives me an insane amount of joy), I spend time writing my column (which lately has given me little joy).

I put a lot of effort into my columns (like I do here) and the ones I think are good I get no response from the public.  I wrote a really great piece on Thanksgiving basically relating the history of Thanksgiving and how it was originally meant to thank GOD and no one else and how it has all been secularized.

Nothing.  No emails.  No on-line responses.

I write opinion pieces on laws and I get told to go back to where I come from.

I feel I am not impacting anyone.  And I feel God has called me to make an impact.

I have felt this way since the end of September but I pushed forward.  However, I can’t ignore my gut any longer.

With only so much time in the day that is actually mine, I must make cuts.  And this is the first one on the chopping block.

I want to spend as much time with my kids as possible while still pursuing my dreams. Right now, I only have one dream.  And it has nothing to do with a career in newspaper land.

NOTE OF CLARIFICATION:  I am speaking about the column I am writing in my local newspaper, NOT THIS BLOG!  This is a blog, not a column.  Sorry for any confusion!!!

Do You Get Discouraged Easily?

I do.  Probably too easily.

Especially when it comes to my writing.  I just don’t have the confidence in my abilities to do it “right” I guess.

My blog.  My column.  My unpublished works.  Is any of it really good or are people just being nice?  Does any of it serve a purpose?

Diane lovingly told me my heart’s on my sleeve and I am too sensitive.  This is true.  Have been my whole life.  I don’t like criticism.  It cuts something deep for whatever childhood reason.

Yet I keep doing it.  Can’t stop really.  Prompted by God.  Or seeking some kind of approval or validation.  From others.  From Him.  Like a published book in print.  “Then I’ll truly be a writer.”

Got my answer though to BSF postings from BSF themselves buried in the notes for Lesson 2.  Paraphrasing it says technology has opened up previously closed doors to sharing the gospel with others all over the world.

All of this has a purpose and a reason for preparing me for whatever God has in store for me in the future.

And I believe this of you all as well.  We’re all here.  Learning from each other. Encouraging each other.  Sharing our life’s frustrations and desires and our walk. Fighting the Devil every step of the way.  Growing.  Maturing.  Being.

I pray for you all daily; that you find whatever you are seeking (be it here or elsewhere) and you continue marching forward doing God’s call on your life despite the inevitable setbacks and complications that accompany us all.

In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Me? A Columnist?

Thinking perhaps novel writing is not my forte, I contacted the local paper here and asked if they needed writers.  The editor returned my call and asked if I had any experience.  I said,”Nope. I write novels but would be interested in trying something new.” So he asked for a sample.

And he loved it!

I asked my husband what he thought about it.  He reluctantly agreed.  Since it’s a small town and we don’t exactly have a last name like “Smith” or “Johnson”, he was hesitant.  “I guess as long as you don’t get too personal,” he said.

When I first found out, I was excited.  Maybe this is it instead of novels.  I enjoy novels but they are time-consuming.  And apparently I suck at writing them.  Ya know, the whole plotting, character development, the works.

Me: I can’t decide.  I’m with him on some parts.  You all know how I write.  It’s not exactly fluff.  It’s deep, meaningful, and at times vulnerable.

Yet if I’m ever going to have a writing career, I gotta take a risk some time.  After all, readers have to be able to identify with you and if they can’t feel what you’re feeling, then you’ve failed as a writer.  And name recognition goes a long way into getting a novel published.  Look at all the celebrities who get their works published just because of who they are.

So, I thought I’d ask you all your opinions since you all “know” me about as well as anyone.  What do you think?  Should I write for a newspaper or not?

What If I Wrote Just for Me?

I’ve read this before from authors who have made it.  They began just writing a story for themselves (Stephenie Meyers says on her website she wrote Twilight for her personal enjoyment). Somewhere amongst all my readings on plotting and planning a novel and choosing an audience this advice got lost.

As I’m re-writing my YA novel to strengthen it (hopefully), this popped into my mind.

I started to think of my past:  how I used to run a website that sold my non-fiction parenting book.  How I had looked into POD (publishing-on-demand) places such as Lulu.com.  How at the time this process was incredibly fulfilling even though it all tanked (that’s a whole other story).

Now, as I write this novel of mine, I’m at a part that made me smile.  One of my main characters is speaking and he says something hokey but something that would melt my heart if I were a teenager.  Note the emphasis on me.

I took a big hit on my last post for it being all about me.  And you all are probably right.  I’m selfish.  Arrogant apparently as some of you have pointed out in the past.  At times, not God-centered. There are a few of you who repeatedly tell me like it is and for that I am eternally grateful.

But I know in my heart what God wishes for me:  to be happy and enjoy this fleeting life.  To live for Him; to better this world He created until He calls me home.

This blog is about me.  It’s about what’s happening in my life.  It’s about my real feelings I lay on the line for all of you to comment on, share your life experiences, and offer advice, chastisement, and encouragement.  It’s about my struggles in life, my fights, my victories, my growth, and my God.  And I just so happen to post BSF answers which brought most of you here (why you all stay I’m not for sure).

I am as real as I can be on paper.  Probably more so real than the farces I would wear in person.  It’s easier to be freer when you all don’t know me.

I can say things to you all I can’t tell my family.  I can work through my problems and see it all laid out on a written screen. It’s therapeutic.  I can go back to times in my life and see where I’ve been and where I’ve come from.

You can choose to read this or not (again sometimes I wonder why any of you do actually.  My struggles can’t be that entertaining, can they?)  You can comment or not.  You can hopefully take something from this or not (even if it’s “that lady is a pyscho!”). It’s all relative to you, isn’t it?  And ultimately to me, too.

I hope (and like to think) I help others out there through sharing my struggles.  This is part of what keeps me posting, keeps me writing.

Back to my point:  I began thinking of all the possibilities out there for publishing, etc.  Sure, who wouldn’t want a major publishing house to back your work.  But if they don’t, will my life end?  No.

I do write for me.  It gives me something utterly unexplainable. It fulfills me much like prayer does.  It fills me up when I’m empty. I turn to writing when I’m depressed (such as this time in my life). It’s like a counselor.  Someone to listen to me.

Ultimately, I write what God wants me to write, what He tells me to say since everything comes from Him.  I think I get lost though sometimes in expectations or what have you.

And a lot of the time this is just plain fun!  This is my entertainment a lot of the time.  I enjoy diving into issues especially about God with you all.  I can question here and get honest feedback.

And I can work through ideas (much like brain-storming) and narrow down what exactly I want to do in this world.

Still working on that one though!

End Note:  You may be baffled by some of my posts.  Sometimes I write things just so I can remember them like the post about my son stealing the opposing team’s soccer snacks.  Things I always want to remember that I wouldn’t otherwise.

The Voice

I’m not one to watch TV (as some of you may know, we don’t get TV) but my sister who has TiVo invited me to watch NBC’s new show called “The Voice.”  It’s similar to American Idol but singers are grouped into teams and are coached by professional singers. It’s surprisingly good.

Well, one song chosen to be sung was Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield.  I liked this song when it first came out but now it is very apropos to where I’m at now in my writing career.  My favorite lyrics:

“Reaching for something in the distance,

So close you can almost taste it,

Drench yourself is words unspoken

Today is where your book begins,

The rest is still unwritten.”

Now, this song is probably meant to be figurative but I take it literally since I write.  I love how this song speaks to how nothing is set in stone, you can always change and set your path because every day is new and a chance to start over and do your calling.

Naturally, I downloaded it to my IPod so I can be inspired to keep chugging away, especially now when I’m still questioning what I’m supposed to do with writing.  I know I’m supposed to write. But what?  For whom? In what medium?  How?

When Can You Call Yourself a Writer?

I’m writing the synopsis this morning of my YA novel and I’m thinking the whole time, “This novel sucks!  Is this what I’m supposed to be doing with my life?”

I’m thinking of all the time I have spent working on this novel and the worst-case scenario flashes before my mind:  just another word document on my computer.  Just like all of my other novels and non-fiction work.

I’m frustrated, no doubt.  I think my stuff is good but if I can’t convince anyone else of that then it’s worthless and just a bunch of wasted time.

I never call myself a writer.  I just don’t.  Sure, I have a blog but so do lots of other people.  I would like to definitively say, “Yes, I’m a writer.”  But I just don’t.  I guess I don’t feel like one until I have something published.  Otherwise, I feel like a tinker.  When I say this, I mean one who works with something in an unskilled manner, an experimenter, a fiddler.

I fiddle.  I tinker.  I experiment.  Not create, enthrall, or inspire.

Sigh.  I feel this as God’s calling, but I also feel frustrated when I languish.  Give me something here, Lord.  Anything!

Words of encouragement only get me so far.  I’m results oriented.

And right now it seems like results are light-years away.