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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Weekly Writing Recap

Major Revision/Rewrite of Violets & Violins
Status: 101,000 words out of 100,000

Words added/rewritten this week: 0

Life changed dramatically the past two weeks. Gwynly and I moved the Fashion Queen to college.

Our first-year student is doing quite well, and we're immensely proud of her. Meanwhile, we're adjusting to our Empty Nest. The house is quieter. There is far less laundry. The coffee table, where our daughter preferred to do her homework, isn't piled with textbooks, empty Dr. Pepper cans and an assortment of jewelry.

We writers hear the oft-repeated advice to begin a story at a character's moment of profound change. I can see why. At those times, emotion runs rampant. I felt drained during the days following our separation. I wept my way through the supermarket where items on every aisle reminded me of my gal. When she faced a challenge with a course change and overcame it, I rejoiced. Upon receiving an email with photos of her sporting her first henna tattoo, I laughed.

Life as I knew it will never be the same. I'll never be the same. The experience of launching my daughter into adulthood has ended the hands-on mom period of my life. The Fashion Queen is fast becoming an independent young woman I'm happy to call my friend. While she'll always be my little girl at heart, she no longer needs me in the same ways she once did. She's growing and changing, and so am I.

Now that the move is behind us, I'm eager to return to my writing. Before I could, I had some contest entries to judge. I was blessed with two stellar stories to score. Both of these writers have amazing voices. I'll be a better writer for having had the privilege of reading their work.

Moving forward with Violets & Violins is my goal now. I'm eager to finish the revision so I can preform an edit and move on to my next story. I feel a renewed sense of enthusiasm as I anticipate spending time with my characters.

• • • • •

For those of you with an Empty Nest, I'd love to hear how you weathered the emotional upheaval.

For those of you who aren't parents or who haven't launched your children into the world yet, what major transitions have you experienced, and how have you dealt with them?

For those of you who are writers, have you used a major change from your life in one of your stories?


sherrinda said...

I don't have any empty nest yet, but I have moved one, soon to be two, out of the house. It is a huge change and one that is both exciting and yet a bit sad. May your days be filled with productivity in your writing and fresh energy to do what God has called you to do!

Diane said...

So happy and sad for you during this time. Just them going for their first day of school is hard. Seeing my daughter walk to choir by herself made me remind myself that they are becoming more independent. :O)

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Everyone of my sons' "firsts" caused me to cry and wish they were babies again! Our relationships are ever changing and it's been wonderful to watch them grow into handsome, talented men. They're still my kids even though they remind me often that they are 40 and 43 years old and over six foot tall!!

The best part of my relationship with my mom was the friendship we developed after I was 18.

Enjoy and savor the moments of growth for both you and your daughter.

PS It's okay to cry too!

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

I'll never forget standing on the college lawn holding my mom and swaying with her crying just before they dropped me off and drove the 16 hours back "home."

And yes, I do use emotionally gripping times from my own life to write a compelling scene.

~ Wendy

Cindy said...

Glad to hear your daughter is doing well in school!

My children are young still but the first day of Kindergarten was hard with my oldest. Time passes too quickly even if you pause to take in all the wonder around you and all the blessings we've gotten.

Edna said...

The empty nest does get a bit borning, once they go to college mine never lived at home again, once they finished, now I have 2 granddaughters in college, (sisters) the oldest one is a senior at U of SC and she has always traveled back and forth she does not want to leave home. but her younger sister is in her second year at PC College in Clinton, Sc and she never wants to come home she is always busy at school, the school is only about 15 minutes aways from her home. Kids are so different.


Keli Gwyn said...

Sherrinda, I understand what you mean about having children leaving home being both exciting and a bit sad. I'm delighted for our daughter and love hearing how well she's doing, but I miss having her around. On the other hand, it's nice having more time to myself.

Diane, I remember the day I dropped the Fashion Queen off for Kindergarten. I cried. OK. That's nothing new. I cry at every major event, happy or sad, but I felt a huge hole in my heart as I left her with Mrs. Starr. In time I adjusted, as I know I will now.

Donna, I'm a firm advocate of tears. I think shedding them helps clear my vision, so-to-speak. I'm marveling at the shift taking place in my relationship with my daughter. I'm no longer a hands-on mom. I have to back off and let her make her own decisions. Instead I've become more of an encourager and friend, and it is a neat role.

Wendy, doesn't adding the emotion from our own lives to our stories add such depth? When we transfer that wealth of feeling to the page, our readers can't help but be drawn deeper into our stories.

Cindy, it does seem that time passes quickly. I still have times when I stop and think, "How did she grow up so fast?" I used to roll my eyes when our strong-willed gal was giving me fits at age three and well-meaning older women would tell me to enjoy each stage of her life because before I knew it, she'd be off to college. Now I'm the one tempted to say those same words to younger moms. :)

Edna, sounds like you're a pro at the parenting job, having raised children who've raised children. What is it like watching your kids sending theirs off to college?

Jill Kemerer said...

I know it's years away, but I'm already sad about the empty nest! Here's a hug to get you through it. And congrats on all your progress!

Keli Gwyn said...

Jill, thanks for the hug. Our daughter is doing well, and that eases my sadness.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Oh, Keli, I feel your pain and I'm not looking forward to my turn. You're right though, you need to harness those emotions in your manuscript. I'm praying for you!

Keli Gwyn said...

Thanks for the prayers, Eileen. It's been ten days since we left our gal, and I'm missing her. I know I'll adjust, but it will take time. For now, I'm taking note of my emotional state so I can use some of these feelings in my stories.

flchen1 said...

Keli, hugs on missing your FQ! It'll be quite a few years before we're sending ours off to college, but each life milestone does give us fresh challenges :) I do hope yours give you fodder for your writing (instead of simply giving us all fodder for sleepless nights, for instance) I think a day at a time is the way to go (or in some cases, an hour at a time!)--I think once we became parents, having children really forced us to be more open to change and to rely less on just ourselves. Good lessons, but certainly not easy! Hang in there, Keli--this is such a great transition for you and your family! Can't believe your little girl's all grown up!


Keli Gwyn said...

Fedora, the FQ is doing quite well, and I couldn't be prouder. To my surprise and delight, I'm having a blast getting to know my daughter as an adult. I miss her, but I trust we'll make the transition without too many bumps in the road.