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Thursday, March 3, 2011

My writing...

When I started this blog, I promised to give you interviews with amazing authors… done. I promised to throw in some giveaways… done. And I also promised to share my characters, my writing and myself. I haven’t “done” so much of that. As a writer, some of us tend to feel self conscious about who were are, what we like, or how our writing will be judged. I know I don’t speak for all writers when I say that, but I happen to fall into that category more than I should at this point in my “writing” life.

With any form of art, there is a considerable amount of putting yourself out there, especially when you submit your work to contests, editors, and agents. You get my drift. When I started really focusing on my writing about ten years ago, I would sit at my computer writing and when anyone, be it my family (kids, especially my husband) or anyone else, came into the room I would quickly minimize my screen. I would cover any paper I might have notes on. Sometimes I would just completely shut the computer off and go onto something else. I didn’t want anyone peaking over my shoulder and laughing at what I had written.

Over the years I toughened up a bit and even read a couple of things to my husband. I let a few friends read what I had written. Most of the time I got rave reviews, but you never really know if those people just love you and want to make you feel good. (Thank you to all of my friends who loved me enough to take the time to read my work! It means the world to me!) So I started to venture out. I got online and looked for ways to connect with other writers.

Eventually I found the Writer’s Digest school on the internet and began taking some classes, mostly for the interaction, not because I thought I needed the help. ;-) Just kidding. I was in desperate need of help and the plus side was now I had an audience. People that I didn’t know, people that had never read any of my stuff, people that would give me a straight answer.

Things went well in the classes. I learned so much that I started to wonder if writing was really my cup of tea. I just liked to write to hear the stories in my head. I liked to write the way I wanted to and I started to realize that there was so much more to writing than just putting words on a page. Instead of walking away from what I loved, I dove into it deeper. I put together an online writing group with some amazing woman. We have never met in person, but met weekly on a one-hour chat. We talked about writing and we critiqued each other’s work. I met some amazing people in that group. And I grew up a lot. Or maybe I should say my writing grew-up.

I started to enter contest. I even won first place in the, Colorado Romance Writers Heart of the Rockies Contest. Now things were starting to happen. There was just one problem. I am such a perfectionist that I felt I had to re-write my work every time the wind blew a different direction, which kept me from typing THE END (approximately 50 times).

It took me over five years to finish my first manuscript, Morgan Ranch. Once it was finished, I went to, Belleview, Washington for the Emerald City Romance Writers Conference with a good writing friend of mine. There we both got the opportunity to meet with editors and agents. I had a meeting in the morning and pitched my book. The editor requested the first three chapters of my book and I was on cloud nine!!!

It took a couple of months for me to receive what would be my first rejection letter. It tore me apart, even though in my heart and in my head I knew I wasn’t ready to be published. It was that risk of putting myself out there and being told NO. It was a nice no, in fact it was a no that simply said your writing needs a little work and this manuscript just isn’t for us.

That is a good NO, but still a NO. My dreams of standing in the spotlight and paparazzi chasing me around town to snap my picture were gone. Ha ha as if that really happens to writers. Well I guess if your Nora Roberts or Stephanie Myers maybe, but not little ol’ me. ;-)

So what have I done for the last year after my rejection letter? Let’s see… my husband and I have bought our first home, packed up and moved in. My oldest child graduated from high school. And the other two children have kept my schedule so jam-packed that there are days I don’t know if I am coming or going. Am I still writing you ask? Yes, I am still writing. I started this year off by writing 1500 words every day which works out to be seven to ten pages a day. I did that routine five days a week (plus my day job and the normal everyday stuff) for a whole two weeks straight before I made myself terribly ill.

Good news was that I wrote 15,000 words in those two weeks. I proved to myself that I could stay on task with everything life threw at me and was still able to write those pages. And then I crashed and burned in weeks three, four, five… well I guess some would say I am still smoldering a little. I haven’t written in weeks.

I have still been trying to recuperate, more mentally than physically. As an active writer there is so much pressure on you. Pressures you put on yourself as well as pressure from others. How many pages or words did you write today? All of your peers ask that question. Don’t get me wrong… that’s good. They are doing their job as friends. And in all honesty they probably just want to see how your writing compares to what they’ve done or haven’t done that day as well. I am just one of those people that likes being able to say… “I made my word count for the day.” I do not like to answer with defeat. “I haven’t written a word in weeks.” I love to see the gleam in a fellow writers eyes when I tell them, I knocked out 2000 words today and have already done 10,000 for the week. There’s just something about that look of admiration that makes me sooooooo happy.

Unfortunately I haven’t seen that look in a couple of months, because it’s that same look that puts the pressure on. By me not anyone else. I hate to let people down, and even though these people are not waiting specifically for me. I haven’t held them up in anyway, they are waiting to hear just how many words I have accomplished. Not many since my illness now over a month ago.

I have been reading a lot and getting myself geared up for the next couple of scenes in the book I started at the beginning of the year. I guess what I have learned and maybe it’s something I have always known, is that I am not a speedy writer. I am speedy at a lot of other things and good at being speedy too. But writing speedy is not my thing. I am what you might call a Sunday driver. I am that annoying person that makes you cuss on Sunday when all you really want to do is be happy. ;-) I may come around and write my heart out for two weeks straight and walk away from my writing for a month, because that’s what I need to do. I just have to learn to deal with it and learn that, that is my style of writing. I may never be prolific. (Lord help me be prolific.) I will probably be that one book a year writer, ha ha, that may even be a stretch, if you were paying attention above, I said it took me five years to write Morgan Ranch. ;-) But I promise to be a little bit quicker than that.

Friends that have read Morgan Ranch, don’t give up on me. Be patient. You’ll be happy to know there is another book in the making called Donovan’s Journey. It just may take me a little longer than you or I want it to. Thank you all for your support over the years. It has meant the world to me.

So now I have caught you up on what’s been going on, I have shared a little bit of my, not so exciting life with you. I will try to keep you updated on my progress and maybe even some of the research I am doing for my book. I promise to stay in touch more often as long as you promise to keep reading.

Hugs

Micole

5 comments:

Jacqui Nelson said...

Thanks for sharing a glimpse of your writing life with us, Micole. I have to say, there was a gleam in my eye when you said you wrote 7 to 10 pages a -- No! I won't say it and put any pressure on you :)

Donna O'Brien said...

Micole!!

Don't beat yourself up when you can't do it. And if writing a lot in bursts and then then taking a break and getting back to it is your style, then so be it. Just don't let guilt at not hitting a daily count keep you from your WIP.

Remind yourself how you felt when you were actually writing. Sometimes, spending time with our WIP isn't about page count; it's about making the story that's already there, the best it can be. (Although, not 50 different versions worth of edits! LOL) I think it's so great that you shared this part of your journey with everyone!

May the muse bless you!!

Micole Black said...

Thank you Jacqui & Donna. I know all of my writer friends are always there to support me. It's always nice when they ask what I have done and I am on track. It's when i'm not on track that sucks!!!!

Hugs to the both of you! ;-)

micole

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Micole,
The first writers conference I ever attended was also the Emerald City conference! I also got my first request and my first rejection as a result.

I don't know how anyone with children still at home and a full-time job finds time to write. Don't be too hard on yourself! You are moving forward and that's the most important thing.

AC

Micole Black said...

How funny Loucinda. I wonder if our paths have crossed??? Having children, two business, and a job, plus all of the childrens activities and keeping the laundry up, and house clean, it's a wonder I have time for anything. ;-) But I am still working at writing. thank you for stopping by. Can't wait for your interview that is coming up on the 15th.;-)

Hugs

Micole