This Writer’s Journey

I’ve been in cave mood this week, perched on a chair in my office running every scene of my book through a new editing program. Hope to finish today. Then one final reading and I’ll be going into the publishing phase. It’s exciting when the book reaches the final stages of publication. Then I wait anxiously for the sample paperback to ensure it is correctly formatted. The next step is the best…when I say publish it now!

I love the entire process of writing to publication. Unfortunately, a lot of writers have no idea what goes into making a book publishable. I don’t want to ruin my reputation by just writing and hitting publish without making sure the book has been properly edited. Writing is hard work, patience, and perseverance. It is being dedicated to a goal and having a passion to fulfill that goal.

Along the journey, since 2001, I admit I’ve faltered. So easy to fall into a trap of believing there are no more stories left to tell, to feel lost, broken, and useless as a writer. At times it is difficult to decipher between God’s voice and Satan’s voice. And, sometimes, we just need a hiatus. A resting period, because life requires so much from us, there is nothing left for storytelling.

This is the year God called me to return to write for Him. To share His goodness and how he takes brokenness and changes it to joy. In this soon to be published book, I named a little girl, Joy. The significance will become evident as you read Katy and Ben’s story.

Now back to cave mode.

I Am a Writer

I’m a writer, but sometimes there are no words. Times when I sit here in the morning and wonder what God wants me to say. Because the words aren’t mine. Without Him, there are no words.

Writing sessions can be this way. Painful. Meaningless dribble onto the page. Write and delete. No gain. I sometimes wonder how some authors release book after book continuously. Theoretically I could produce three books per year. The numbers show the possibility. If I stick to writing at least 5 days a week, 1,000 words per day, a book could be written every 13 weeks. My plan, not God’s. My gift from God.

Writing, and life in general, is not in my control. If I try to take God’s place, I fail. And so prayer is vital. I seek His guidance. I ask for Him to give me the words which will bring Him glory, not me. I pray I get out of the way so I don’t become a stumbling block.

Somehow God provides the words. My fingers move on the keyboard, but the words are not mine. I praise Him for everything. For breath, for life, for the gift of each day, and for words.

When there are no words, He provides. I am a writer.

Midnight Insights

Last night I woke with a very clear thought. “She wouldn’t have said that!” I know I should keep a notepad and pen on my nightstand, but there are reasons I don’t. I could have walked to my office and captured the thought, but doing so would wake me enough I’d have trouble falling asleep again. So I lay thinking about the need to remember. And tossed and turned for an hour and a half before sleep took over.

As a writer, I receive insights into what I’m working on in unexpected moments. Like in the shower. A pen and notepad would not help at such a time. Right? Can you imagine trying to write when the pen slips out of your soapy hand, and the water ruins the notepad?

When I had a full-time job, I would receive inspiration while driving to pick up food on my lunch hour. Can’t write and drive at the same time either. Once I worked through an entire new manuscript idea in my head watching it unfold scene by scene as I drove home from a writing conference 600 miles from home. Lose it all by the time I unpacked. My idea was to get a small recording machine to carry with me. Yeah, that didn’t work. Nothing came to me except the thought I should be capturing something important.

Thankfully I did remember the insight from last night. Now I need to make the change before I lose it!

Writing in 3D

Coming soon!

My writing mentor and I have had discussions about “being in the zone.” This is a phrase I’ve heard often in writing circles. It’s that place where we are totally absorbed in the words we write, a feeling as if we are actually living out the scene. This morning I thought a better term for this phenomenon is writing in 3D. Up close and personal with the characters, the setting, the action, the emotions, and invested in every second.

Yesterday in writing a critical scene, one filled with emotion that tore at my heart, I was transported to that point of writing in 3D. The words just kept pouring out. I knew what my main character felt, what the secondary character felt, the tension, the pain, the unveiling of truth. I wrote until the emotions so overpowered me I needed to step away and breathe.

It’s a good place to stop even if it is in the middle of a major scene. Why? We need to distance ourselves for our own health! At least, I do. I need a break. The scene keeps fresh in my mind and I’m unable to let it go entirely. This allows me to step back into the scene, rested, and ready to move the story forward.

I understand many people love to read and often think they could write a book. Believe me it isn’t as easy they might think. Writing is hard work. Good writing reaches deep inside our soul and pulls at the pain stuffed into tightly sealed rooms and pours out into various scenes in a new way. It’s a relieving of some things we thought we had let go of long ago. So it’s true a reader will find pieces of the author in each of their books. Not that the same things have happened, but moments where those same feelings once existed and bleed into the story.

Yesterday I posted on my Facebook Author Page about needing a hug after I stepped away from the scene I’d been writing. If you aren’t connected yet to my Facebook Page “Books by Carol Ann,” I am inviting you to look me up and either follow or like to keep up with the latest news and book releases. Maybe you can even give me a hug there!