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Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Past is My Present

Personal Weather Report - Gale-force winds of change

Writing Activity - The rewrite of my Historical Inspirational #3 is at 13,500/100,000 words.

A year ago I'd completed five Historical Inspirationals, submitted them to a number of contests and received several placements. Knowing they needed serious work, I set them aside and focused on establishing a Web presence.

A few months later, I began work on an idea I had for a Contemporary Inspirational. I had a lot of fun at first, but then I began to have doubts about my ability to write young. My progress slowed until a few weeks back it had come to a complete halt.

The story wasn't working. The dialogue dated me. So, I asked myself some tough questions: "What now? Do I delete the file and forget it? Or do I forge ahead in hopes of recapturing the surge of excitement I felt initially?"

I stepped back from the manuscript, focused on other things, waited and prayed.

During my break from the story, I attended the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. For five days I had no computer or Internet access to occupy me. I spent time with other writers on the journey and many gifted authors, wonderful people who shared their knowledge and experience freely.

In that special setting, I received my answer.

One question other conference attendees asked me repeatedly was, What do you write?" I came up with a quick answer: "I write Historical Inspirational Romance." The more I said that brief sentence, the more at peace I became.

I felt a call to return to my first love: the stories that had flowed from my fingers as freely as warm syrup over pancakes. The stories that earned me two finals in the 2008 Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® contest for unpublished romance writers. The stories that brought me joy.

I didn't delete the file for the Contemporary Romance, but I haven't opened it in weeks. Instead, I've begun a major revision on one of my Historicals. The first week, I wrote 11,000+ words. I hadn't experienced a week like that in nearly 18 months.

My fingers are once again flying over my new iMac's nifty aluminum keyboard. I'm enjoying the thrill of writing again. For me, the past is my present, and I couldn't be happier.

Have you ever experienced a time when you had to say no to something that had seemed so right at first? How did you handle it?


sherrinda said...

I'm so glad God spoke to your heart and directed you to peace. He is so good to bring us along on the journey! 11,000 in a week!!!! Amazing! Keep it up, girl!

Anne Barton said...

Keli, first of all, I've gotta say that I love the new look of your blog!

The title of this post really caught my eye. I'm glad you're enjoying the return to historicals. :)

To answer the question you posed . . . yes! A few years after college I went to law school, and half- way through, I realized I wasn't cut out to be a lawyer. I moved on (long before I finished paying off the loans). :)

Great post. It reminded me of the exercise where you draw your past, present, and future as circles on a page. Have you ever tried it?

Keli Gwyn said...

Thanks for stopping by Sherrinda. I'm looking forward to hearing about your journey over at Romance Writers on the Journey and learning about the great things that have happened to you along the way.

Anne, I had no idea you'd started law school. That's cool. There's obviously much more to you than being a math teacher by day and romance writer by night. I believe no experience is wasted. Who knows when you'll need some legal fact for a story, and you'll know just how to find it.

And what's this past, present, future circles exercise? Sounds interesting.

Anne Barton said...

To try the circles exercise (it's really quick), grab a blank sheet of paper and a pencil. Next, draw 3 circles. One should represent your past, one your present, and one your future. Don't read on until you're done . . .

OK, you're going to interpret your own drawing by looking at 2 things. The first is the relative size of the circles. The larger the circle, the more significant you feel that time is; smaller is less important.

The second thing to check is the relative position of the circles. If the circles are inside each other, linked, or close together, you see them as being connected, and one phase of your life flowing into another. If they're farther apart, it means you see those phases of your life as distinct and separate.

I don't remember where I learned this. It may have been a college psych class . . . or possibly a bar. :)

Keli Gwyn said...


That exercise is way cool.

Here's what I did. I stopped where you asked me to and drew three circles. They were the same size. Two sat side by side, touching, with the third on top of them pyramid style.

I then interpreted the circles as you suggested. What I saw is that my life is more balanced than I thought. My future, represented by the top circle, is dependent upon my past and my present. Each aspect is equally important. And I'm going to come out on top, despite the tough stuff that may be in my past or present.

Thanks for sharing.

Anne Barton said...

Very cool, Keli! :)

Emily said...

Keli ~
I finally found my way over to your blog. I read this post and nodded in agreement the whole way through. I think, like you, I heard that call to go back to the one I loved the most. I might really like contemporaries - to read - but my love of writing is grounded in historicals. And five in one year! That's amazing. Good luck with your historicals - I'll be thinking of you!

Keli Gwyn said...


I'm glad you returned to your historicals since that's what you love and what you think best suits your voice.

It took me a year and a half to write the first drafts of those five stories. That may sound impressive, but I don't work outside the home and our daughter is in high school.

I have great admiration for writers who have to fit their creative endeavors around jobs and young families.