I hope everyone's holidays were merry. The royal court made out like, well, royalty. Now I'm ready for it to be over. :0) Which is different than I've been in years past. I have always kept decorations up until the 30th of Dec. Then it's clean it out and have the house ready for New Year's by the 31st and we stay up all night playing board games. (To keep the house clean-do you see my issue with new year and clean house here? It's a curse.)
This year...different story. I feel like ripping down the tree, packing up the decorations and kicking 2009 out of the door. I don't really know why. It was a rough year, but really nothing that I've seen so many other families go through. My children are sleeping safely in a warm bed with tons of toys surrounding them. They all avoided the H1N1 virus, we still have a roof over our heads. We have so much to be thankful for. But I'm ready to start fresh. Funny how the new year gives us that feeling of a clean slate, isn't it?
In writing, my year started with a course through the Institute of Children's Literature. They are a fabulous group. I joined their forum and dove into my assigments. I devoured writing prompts and would write short stories almost daily. I entered several contests. I queried. I submitted. I failed.
Writing picture books or stories for children in any form is a very difficult task. I assumed that because I was a mom that reads to her children....I could write that. Well........let me tell you. I can. But it ain't easy!! And..I found that I don't have a passion for that age group. I don't know if I just...grew up too much or what. It also seemed that no matter how much praise I received from other writer friends, either through critiques or just general interest, I did not like my work. How could I sell something I don't like?
So, I went on and started my first 'contemporary' novel we'll call Audra. I love Audra. I love her character and her world. But I learned a lot and after reading Audra I realized that I had created a book of events...one conflict after another with no real growth, or change or reason for all the conflicts. Audra is lovingly stored on my flash drive. I decided it was time to find something else. I didn't feel like a failure, I felt like I just needed more practice.
I wrote and finished my first novel during the month of November for Nano. I thought it would be YA. I had one of those angsty teenage lives, surely, I could do this. It was hard, it was fun, and rewarding. I felt full of fire and energy. I started a new project, but abandoned it for the nano novel. I just couldn't wait to get it right.
Recently, I received a critique that made me sit down and re think this whole writing gig. Now, it's not that the critique was harsh. Please do not get me wrong. In fact, she mentioned that she loved my style and my voice. I feel like that alone is a great compliment! I was positive someone would tell me I needed to work on voice. (and she may as the book progresses) The questions involved the story...believability and setting it up right. Which is crucial. I'm so glad she brought it to my attention. But I first sat down and almost cried.
It made me wonder if I had the intelligence, the patience, the staying power, to learn the things I didn't know that she brought up. In my nano novel, Addiction, the government plays a role in that my MC works for Homeland Security. I've also set it in the future.
Honestly...I don't know why I did that. I'm not creative in a sci-fi sense AT ALL. I tried to keep it small potatoes because, well..I don't know a thing about politics, either. Seriously. Nothing. I get confused with all the talk and end up tuning it out. Irresponsible, I know, leave me to my little world. Government and Economics was the one class I failed in high school. Almost failed Economics in college.
I was about to humbly admit my defeat and notify all parties of my farewell to the writing dream when I read this post. Thank goodness for Heidi Willis. Not only was her debut novel one of the most amazing books I've read in a looong time(and no, I'm not doing this for a profit, I paid for the book, FTC)but her posts always offer me hope at the exact time I needed it. She reminded me that I have chosen to continue in the past and it's what I must continue to do in my future. She is my angel and my inspiration for this Sunday.