Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

~ Theodore Roosevelt

Seven years is a long time.  It is a lifetime when it comes to writing (or the lack thereof) and daunting when it comes to dusting off a languishing blog to see if it still resonates and can be made to feel new again.  

I spent an interesting afternoon reacquainting myself with past posts, my thoughts on writing and the wandering paths my mind seems to enjoy.  Viewing myself from a seven year gap was surprising, definitely nostalgic and a bit unnerving.  But, it also reminded me how much fun writing was and how challenging sorting out a plot and characters could be.  I realized I have missed the sizzle of excitement my writing engendered, the camaraderie meeting up with fellow writers to discuss the ups and downs of the craft and the feeling of accomplishment I had upon completing my first manuscript.

Why did I let it go? Good question and one I pondered for much of the day today.  

Some writers can write through adversity and life’s challenges and gain strength by focusing on their work.  I admire that tenacity and focus.  It works for them, gives them respite from the chaos around them.  Unfortunately, I am not geared that way.  When life is chucking lemons left and right at me I can’t make lemonade out of it.  I hunker down to deal with whatever is going on, putting all my energy and focus on the here and now.  It dries up my creative energy and writing is on the back burner for the duration.

Did I think it would last seven years?  Oh, heck no!  I am actually shocked by the amount of time that has passed.  It just slipped by in a blink with only occasional forays into writing when I took the time to sit at my computer and stare at a blinking cursor hoping I could remember how to structure a compelling sentence.

Having reminded myself of what I loved about writing I am hoping it is going to be a catalyst to moving beyond thinking about a story idea to actually sitting at my computer and writing it. If nothing else, this has got me thinking about my blog again and actually posting for once.

Baby steps 🙂

Memory Wisps

Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud
~ Maya Angelou

I was rudely jolted from sleep this morning trying to remember the name of a blog I used to read. What the heck? A blog?

I punched my pillow, pulled the blankets up to my chin and snuggled deeper into the comfort of my warm bed. Eyes closed I decided six am on a rainy Saturday morning was an obscene hour to wake up. Unfortunately, the word “doctor” drifted through my consciousness about the same time. Doctor Who? Yes, I really thought that and then wondered where the TARDIS was. Don’t judge – I was barely awake.

Now I was really getting annoyed and no matter how hard I tried to ignore the compulsion to chase memory wisps the name remained just out of reach. It played hide and seek with my sleep-dulled mind until sleep became wishful thinking. Damn it.

I won’t share what I growled under my breath as I threw back the covers and went in search of my phone to check Twitter. Stay with me here – there is a method to my madness. I followed the blog on Twitter as well because the author was witty and thought provoking. If I checked who I followed I might put an end to this madness. Have you ever tried to locate information on a phone without your glasses? Yeah, it was like that. Good news, I found what I was looking for – Noveldoctor.

For most people that piece of information would be enough. End to the mystery. Sometimes I hate not being “most people”. I grabbed my laptop and pulled up Stephen Parolini’s blog and proceeded to lose myself in all the posts I had missed while I had been sucked into the vortex of insanity my life had been lately. (We’ll leave that for another day – lucky you ☺)

Writing has not been a priority for me in a very long time. The last time I wrote a blog post was over a year ago. A year! It is easy to lose faith in ones self and to let doubt become a best friend, it is much harder to move through the dark times and pull the pieces of a life back together. Finding the joy in writing felt impossible. I was wrong. Sometimes the universe gives us an unexpected gift – a nudge in the right direction – even at six am on a rainy Saturday morning.

What I read made me laugh, made me think and reinforced that I am not alone. It was timely and needed. We never know what impacts our words can have on another. Through our blogs we share our thoughts and sometimes they resonate with a reader on a deeper level. Occasionally, if we are lucky, a reader will leave a comment, but most times we never know how we may have impacted another.

So, if you ever find yourself rudely awakened much too early as I was, my advice is to give in to the inevitable and follow that compulsion. You might find something surprising that will brighten your day.

Thank you, Stephen Parolini. You made my day.

One Sentence

“Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences.”
― Sylvia PlathThe Bell Jar

Have you ever had a  sentence just pop into your head out of nowhere?  Something so outside of what you were doing at the time it stopped you in your tracks?  That random, unexpected, inexplicable sentence ended up being the first words of my novel, Rayven’s Keep. A novel, I might add, I wasn’t even contemplating writing.

I would love to say a fully formed story idea followed quickly behind that short sentence, but it didn’t.  All I had was a new word document, one sentence and a blinking cursor quietly minding its own business while I tried to figure out what  just happened.  Who was this character, Nick Rayven, and what the heck was Lodestone, and why did he hate it?

Always up for an adventure, I found words starting to flow and before I knew it I had a rough draft of my first chapter– and I do mean rough!  Over the next days bits and pieces of the story arc started to jell in my mind.  My critique partner would read some of what I had written and then ask me questions I struggled to answer.  I swear I would almost break out in a sweat while I tried to work my way through the plot.  But, she forced me to take a germ of an idea and fully flesh it out – if only in my mind.  Have you figured out I am a bit of a pantser yet?

I worried I would never be able to finish the book, but I kept plugging away refining sentences, working through plot problems and growing to love my characters and the journey they were on.

I learned to take feedback without personalizing it and realized the comments most often strengthened the story.  I also came to realize this was just the first story in the world I was building and while refining the plot for this one I was also laying the groundwork for the ones to follow.

When that sentence popped into my head I never dreamed it would finish with a book that was a finalist in the Golden Rose Contest or a first place winner in a contest sponsored by Lyrical Press – How Lyrical is your Romance. I never imagined I would be offered a contract.

Rayven’s Keep has been a wild ride from start to finish and I can’t wait for the story to be released by Lyrical Press on June 3.  I am astounded by the power of one random sentence that started it all.

What was the trigger for your story?