June 23, 2012 – So much has been going on I am just impelled to write about it. A little fire ignited under me recently and I can’t stop writing! Yaay!!!!
I have to do a plug for Lumosity.com because I think after visiting their website, that’s around the time things started heating up.
I just remember being in bed one night…or was it waking up one morning…? No, definitely at night. An idea came to mind that made me jump up and write down some notes. Well, I also have to plug Hope Clark at FundsforWriters because if not for her, I never would have been mulling over the contest that sparked the idea. I think I’ve subscribed to her newsletter for over ten years… I can’t remember anymore. Anyway, it is chock full of writing opportunities. I would always read it faithfully, completely and have intentions to pursue a job, contest or grant but in the early years, I rarely followed through. I thought I had writing in the bag and I wrote manuscript after manuscript but submitted them no further than the computer hard drive.
Then just before moving to Italy, I tried to get serious. I wrote a book of memoir/poetry about someone from my past and self-published under the pseudonym, Jessica K. Vaughn. The name was a combination of people (real or imagined) that I admired.
Well, I wasn’t very happy with what I put out at that time and the dismal sales gave evidence of the poor effort. At one point, I was so ashamed that I never even told my family that I’d written a book. I did learn valuable lessons about self-publishing and quality work.
Moving on…. I, of course, did not gain any fame or fortune from that work but in Italy, I was so motivated to become a true novelist that I finished a 69000 word manuscript in about 2 weeks! This, after I had worked on the first two chapters off and on for at least two years prior. I really thought that I had advanced in my writing skills. But just around the time that I finished that work and began pursuing an agent/publisher, I met my husband and writing pretty much went off course.
In the three years we’ve been married and produced two children, I can count on one hand how many writing projects I’ve fulfilled. I think I wrote two poems for baby Jordis… Ok, maybe I can count on two hands because I have written at least six nursery rhymes for the kids; I’ve completed two short short children’s picture books, and maybe two or three poems.
But, come on, in three years? I should at least be doing something close to that every month! My legitimate excuses are stress, returning to the U.S. unwillingly, post-partum depression, two babies in under 2 years, being an over 40 mom and writer’s block.
Okay, now back to the good part. After Jonah’s birth, I felt far better emotionally than with Jordis. By the time he was five months old, I started getting this overwhelming desire to write something.
Oh, I was blogging sometime after Jordis but it was sporadic. There are months that went by when I didn’t have the zeal to even read my emails. Still, I knew it was in me to write. I kept hoping and dreaming that one day things would fall into place. I also kept reading Hope’s newsletter. Well, very very long story short, last month in mid-May or so, was when I read about two contests in the newsletter. One was with Blue Mountain Arts, the greeting card company and the other is with Boaz Publishing for a work of fiction by new authors.
I started writing a poem first, but lost the feel for it. When I realized the deadline for the book was sooner, I turned my focus to that. I kept thinking about the manuscript I’d written in Italy. I wanted to revive that but I knew I had to incorporate some fresh ideas into it after all these years. (I’d finished it in 2007.) Then, when I thought about the plot I decided that my character was all wrong. The places and events of her life were too unrealistic, nondescript and unnecessary. I had her realizing a dream of marrying an Italian, settling down in Galeata, Italy and having a baby. Is that the only meaning for a woman’s life? No, this girl would go to Italy, but she didn’t need a husband or a baby to find purpose. Then I decided to take it all the way back to scratch. Forget the whole pre-written manuscript. I needed to write an entirely new story with the images, ideas, experiences and vocabulary that I have today at 42, not what I had back at 34 or 35. The idea, as I said, came to me in the night. I saw the whole thing very clearly. I’ve written down an outline to keep the story straight. Now she’s a compilation of life, people and experiences of growiing up in Detroit. I started writing almost unconsciously. Words just came out. Then after trying out that Lumosity, it seems like a light came on. I want to write everything! I keep pouring over FundsforWriters and Worldwide Freelance Writer, searching for anything that appeals to me.
To further this new fever in me, I suddenly asked myself: “What type of poetry do I write?” I’ve been writing for YEARS…since I was about 7 or 8 years old and I have never really known my genre. Ok, I knew that some of my poems rhymed and some didn’t. Big deal. What were they called? I searched the question about styles of poetry and found a website/blog where the writer gives lessons. At long last, I know that I write acrostic, ballads,ballades, free verse, lyric, odes, rhyme, duo-rhyme, sound, bio, elegy … I have never written ABC poems, limericks, sonnets. I may have written burlesque, couplet, haiku, idyll, concrete and iambic pentameter, but must see more examples to know for sure. I would like to write cinquain and tanka. I want to be able to recognize all of these when I read a poem. That will take some time to learn, but I don’t have that type of free time now. Just doing little by little. What is most important is that I’m writing.
The poem that I wrote for the contest made me so happy because I love the way it flows. I’m going to put it on the poetry page, Creative Spot. I’d love to have some feedback on that!!!
Finally, I started another new thing today. I clicked on a link to a link to a link and came across an advertisement for a book on writing a novel in 28 days or less. It mentioned all of these famous published writers who had written manuscripts in 7, 14 or 30 days. i could almost believe it was possible because i had done similar in the first few weeks in Italy. Well, I kept reading the webpage and it said something about free writing. i looked it up and after understanding the concept of writing without regard to spelling, grammar or topic for a set amount of time, I decided to give it a try. An 850 word essay came out in just a few short minutes. I did break the rules in that I went back to edit when I felt myself misspell a word. Habit. Again, I just felt strongly about what I wrote. It was crazy that I found a contest in FundsforWriters today called Open Ages Poetry and Short Story Contests out of Canada. The word max for a story or essay is 850. Oh yeah, I entered. Now, as I was just about to start working on a poem, I got the idea to tell you about it in the blog!
To put the topping on the cake, it’s almost 3 a.m. and I haven’t yawned one time!! Had a 2 hour nap this afternoon. First time since probably December last year. Gave me a turbo boost!!
Well, before I start on that poem, I want to just do another free writing lesson and see what I come up with. Then, I’ll write some notes and sleep on it. I feel good now, but can’t predict what tomorrow will bring. I’d better get my sleep while I can.
I’ve been writing today for just around 3 hours straight! Bonus!!