Hold tight to your pencils dear friends. I'm about to actually write about writing [GASP!] Wait. Do any of you even still write with pencils? How many of you still write by hand at all - other than, you know, the occasional grocery list? Even note taking seems to have gone the digital route. But I'm getting side-tracked here.
Which reminds me. I used to wonder why people in Phoenix yell "Squirrel!" when there are no squirrels around here (ok...there's actually three types of squirrels in the Sonora desert, but we don't see them in the city much). Then I discovered it's a movie reference. I think here in the desert we should say "Lizard!" or "Pigeon!" when someone gets sidetracked. But not "Scorpion!" because that's kind of like yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater. Never joke about seeing a scorpion. And yah, I'm way off topic again. Would someone please call to order? I need a keeper.
Okay. Back to writing. After all, this is a blog for writers. It's also a place to get to know a few writers and how we view the world. Anyway - last month I arrived at the annual ANWA Writers Conference full of fear and trepidation. I had taken that metaphorical step off the ledge and signed up for a pitch session with one of the editors. The night before my big day, I tossed and turned in the motel bed, trying not to wake up my bunk mate. Doubts about my writing swirled in my brain and invaded my dreams. Just before dawn I decided to cancel my appointment.
When I finally got out of bed both of my roommates were still sleeping. I knelt by the bed and had a little heart-to-heart with Heavenly Father. Should I, or shouldn't I, go through with the pitch session? The answer came in the form of another question.
What do you want to accomplish? Why do you write? How will cancelling your appointment help you reach your goal?
I knew then that I wanted, needed even, to go through with the interview. Since I was still terrified, I opened my scriptures. Scripture study always eases my mind. That morning was no exception. In fact, I almost laughed out loud when I opened to my place marker in 3 Nephi 22 and came to verse 4:
Fear not for thou shalt not be ashamed.
Fascinated, I continued to read through to 3 Nephi 23: 4 -
Therefore give heed to my words; write the things which I have told you..."
Needless to say, I kept the appointment and pitched my book idea. The editor shared kind and encouraging words of advice and asked me to send a copy of my completed manuscript to her personally! She even gave me a "get out of the slush pile" card (actually it was her business card with her personal email addy - and yes, I think another exclamation mark is called for)!
You'd think that I'd be writing...err...typing my fingers to their arthritic nubbin's trying to finish writing my book. And I did. For one day. I came home from the conference and wrote over 1500 words that very day, which is huge for me. I normally struggle to write 600 words a day because I spend so much time refereeing arguments between Creative Brain and Editor Brain. By mid day, both sides start arguing with the Ref and Creative Brain usually ends up getting kicked out of the game, and...LIZARD!
Back to the story.
I wrote for one day and then got caught up in all the bookkeeping/check writing/paperwork trailing responsibilities for post-conference ANWA, playing with grandkids and hubby's trip to the hospital (he's doing great), and...yeah.
I did manage to meet a friend for a writing session at the library one other day. I read those 1500+ words out loud. I think I can use about 500 of them. They are awful - vague, repetitive, boring. I think the word a former mentor would use describes it well - Craptastic. Ugh. Maybe I should give up.
Or not. Because guess what? Hubby and I sat down at breakfast yesterday and opened to the last talk from April's General Conference. Elder Holland rocks. In his talk, "Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders Among You," Elder Holland reminds us that highs and lows are all part of life. The important thing to remember is to keep trying. Do the best you can. Have faith in Christ and in God's plan and keep going.
So, what is my role as a writer in the Lord's plan? I don't know the answer to that yet, but I do know the journey will be an exciting one because ~
Life is magnificent.