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.

I Have a Serious Writing Problem…

I was working on my query letter this morning, tinkering with the wording because I have it almost where I want it when I was struck by a thought:  this query letter is better than my book!  I’d better make my book just as good!

So, I began tinkering on my novel again….my finished novel–at least what I had previously thought was finished.

I have had this problem with all of my work.  It’s never finished. I’m constantly tinkering and it drives me up the wall!

I’m wondering if anyone else has this problem.  Just now, I was tinkering some more (well, since I had already started, why stop now?).

I can’t stop myself.  I tell myself I’m done.  Then I’m at it again.

So, I’m wondering:  Is a novel ever finished?  And when?  When it’s in print and you can’t make any more changes?  This I see as my scenario.

Any comments would be most welcome (especially ones saying I’m not crazy!).

This Happens Every May…

God takes me down to remind me my place in this world.

I’m sick.  My throat hurts.  My voice is almost gone.  I have a runny nose and feel all around absolutely miserable.  I can’t sleep. I’m cold.

On Wednesday, our music teacher told me I looked really tired. I’ve been thinking for a couple of weeks now I need to take a break, not work out for a week, not set my alarm for a week but I haven’t.

So God does what I won’t do.

Since August, I’ve been faithfully working out 2-3 times a week, doing BSF every day, working on my novel, and doing all the kids stuff (school, activities, etc).  And getting up early every day in order to accomplish such personal goals.  Not to mention running a household and keeping the dogs alive and my husband happy.

BSF is finally over.  My final edit which took two months instead of two weeks is finally done.  I’m on the verge of being done researching homeschool curriculum.  School is almost over.

Obviously, I need a break.  NOW.

As usual, God has to hit me over the head in order to do it.

He got my attention.  I’m listening…

Nothing About This is Easy….

Have I said this before?  It seems like I say this all the time.

I am editing….again….and it’s driving me up the wall.  I keep changing stuff, hopefully making it better, but it’s such a slow process.  I hate it.  And I don’t use hate lightly.

Nothing about this is easy.  Nothing about this is fun.  Nothing about this is uplifting, inspiring, or even tolerable.

I keep praying I get this thing published mainly for one reason: so I can hire someone to edit my future work henceforth.

It’s boring.  I know this stuff like the back of my hand.  It’s mind-numbing.  It’s outright awful.

This will be my last time.  I just can’t take it anymore!  I am just praying for the fortitude to finish this round and quickly.

I thought (for some stupid reason), This’ll be easy.  Just one more quick read-through before querying.  It’ll only take a couple of days. Wrong again.

I should have known better.  It’s not quick.  I guess I just tell myself this so I’ll do it.  Because once I start it gets done.

But only from God’s will, not mine.  I would have given up long ago.

Just When I Think I’m Done…

I have been anxious to begin querying on my novel.  I’ve been this way since I finished really.  Last week, I thought I was done so I began to write my query letter.  I worked on it some more this morning when I read something on the internet that made me decide to rip apart my first and second chapters.

So, I spent 2 hours this morning doing just that.  Fine.  But I’m just that much further from being done.

Then I had a thought that I usually always have when I’m writing a book:  does it really matter anyways? Will anyone ever read this?  Does anyone care but me?

It’s just frustrating.  People think writing is easy.  It’s not.  Far from it.  It’s constant second-guessing. Constant wondering if this sounds right, if this is saying what I think it’s saying, and if anyone will ever read this stuff beyond, well, me.

And when the tough part is over (completing a novel) then the selling begins (an even tougher part for me)–convincing someone my novel is worth something to someone else besides me.

I dread this part but yet it’s the most important element.  I’m taking my time on this one, trying not to screw this one up.  Trying not to screw any of it up really.

So I pray and hope and keep working and maybe one day…