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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Weekly Writing Recap: Relief

An event took place November 24th that left me with a smile spread across my face and a load off my shoulders.

After months spent rewriting
Violets & Violins and weeks polishing the first three chapters until they shone so brightly I needed sunglasses to read them, my dear Gwynly took me to the Post Office. David, one of the many friendly and knowledgeable clerks who has processed my contest entries throughout the past four years, took the package from my trembling hands. The box containing my hopes and dreams, as well as six copies of my 2010 Golden Heart entry and a CD containing the complete manuscript, was on its way. When I told David this was the most important contest of the year, he smiled and said, "Then you want the insurance on this, don't you?" He's got the drill down.

Getting to the point where I could release my story wasn't easy. I experienced a moment of panic the night before and told Gwynly and my awesome critique partner, Anne Barton, I needed to read the entire story one more time. After ensconcing myself in the comfy armchair before our pellet stove, I toasted my tootsies and began turning pages.

Three and a half chapters into the manuscript, reality dawned. I had one day before our daughter was due home for her Thanksgiving break and a number of tasks to complete prior to picking her up. There weren't enough hours left in which to read a 100,000 word story and prepare for our long-awaited visit from the Fashion Queen. Enough was enough. The time had come to put family first.

A tremendous sense of relief washed over me when I walked out of the Post Office last Tuesday. Not only was my entry on its way, but I'd achieved a minor victory. I'd allowed pragmatism to triumph over perfectionism, not an easy task for me as Gwynly and Anne know. Because of my decision, Gwynly, the Fashion Queen and I enjoyed a relaxed Thanksgiving and had fun cutting our tree and decorating the house the day after.

In other contest news, I received my brooch from the Lone Star Contest last week. I like the way the Northwest Houston RWA chose to combine the star with a pen. I'll wear this beautiful bit of bling proudly.

And what's next?

I've started sending chapters of V&V to Anne, who is working her magic on them. Not only does she catch the pesky typos and grammatical goofs I missed, but she also comes up with great words to replace some weak ones that slipped past me. And when it comes to wonderful chapter ending hooks, she's downright masterful. With her help, V&V is better than I dreamed possible. When I think of all the things I'm thankful for this year, having Anne as my CP is high on the list. But far more important than that, I'm grateful for her steadfast support and friendship.

• • • • •

Are you a recovering perfectionist? If so, how do you force yourself to let go of a project?

Are you more of an easygoing person. If so, what tips can you offer those of us who have a hard time knowing when to stop?

Do you have a person who supports you in your creative endeavors? What are some of the greatest blessings you derive from the relationship?

What are some things you're thankful for?


Diane said...

How completely exciting! Your HUGE smile says it all. So proud and can't wait to hear that's it a done deal with a book in your hands. :O)

Cindy said...

How exciting to have your manuscript on its way. And every time I see that title, Violets and Violins it just moves something in me. Not sure why :D

I have many people who support my creative endeavors and it helps me shine, makes me take chances I never would have on my own and really makes me want to reciprocate all they do for me.

Keli Gwyn said...

Diane, when I saw the pic Gwynly took, I couldn't believe the size of that smile. However, it does show just how thrilled I was to have the entry out of my hands.

Cindy, thanks for your kind words regarding the title. I know we writers aren't supposed to get too attached to the ones we come up with because the publishers often change them, but I love this one.

I'm glad you have so many supporters of your writing and other creative endeavors. I understand the desire to reciprocate. I'd love to bless each of mine richly, just as they've blessed me.

Virginia C said...

Hi, Keli! Congratulations! I love this picture of you looking so well & happy with your big, beautiful smile! Best of luck : )

sherrinda said...

You look deliriously happy and I am so excited for you! How wonderful to let it go and enjoy your Fashionista! I hope you had a wonderful holiday!

Anne Barton said...

Keli, what a GREAT picture. It's really not fair that you would look so cute on a trip to the Post Office. :) How sweet of your hubby to snap a photo.

The Lone Star brooch is cool! Would you believe the pen looks just like the ones I wrote with in grade school? I kid you not.

Thank you for the kind words in your post--I was so touched by them. I'm honored to read your stories and doubly so to call you my friend. Okay, I must stop now or else my mascara will run.

I'm so glad you got your entry off before your family weekend. Huge congrats and I can't wait to see what the next year brings. :)

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

So excited for you to be able to cut the "apron strings" and send your "child" out into the cruel world of publishing!! I know "she" will be missed!

Congrats on the Lone Star Contest pin! Cool!

There is no doubt that I am a recovering perfectionist! I don't think I'm even recovering or there is hope for recovery! LOL! When it's time (and is it ever time????) to set a story free, it has to be snatched out of my hands or I'll be saying, "Oh just one more edit. PLEASE!!!" LOL!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Congratulations on letting that baby go, girl!! I bet it wins!!!

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Good for you, Keli! And congrats for getting it out! That's a huge step of faith. I'm going to pray for peace for you as you wait for the outcome. :0) Have a great day!

Keli Gwyn said...

Virginia, thanks for sharing in my celebration.

Sherrinda, we had a great time with the Fashion Queen. Thanksgiving Day was relaxing. Went to our traditional afternoon movie and had dinner at dinner time, the way she likes it. Cut our tree the next day after a record five-minute hunt for the right one. Got it up, decorated and the wrapped presents under it, so she's happy knowing we're ready for her Christmas break. Since the work is done, I'm able to write without the added holiday stress. Nice!

Anne, you're the best! I'm blessed, and I know it.

Donna, your comment made me smile. I call myself a recovering perfectionist, too, but I wonder if the "recovering" part of it is a stretch sometimes. However, I did just send out a less than perfect copy of my story. I remind myself that even a published book isn't perfect, and that helps--a little. :D

Eileen, thanks for the vote of confidence. Supportive friends are a gift!

Kristen, I appreciate the prayers. I do my best to send off an entry, forget about it until the announcements are due and enjoy the journey. My next heroine, Rebecca, who is far more patient than Elenora in V&V, is ready for me to work on her story. The dear young woman has begun chatting, and I'm listening. :)

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Keli,

I know how you feel. I was the same way. I'd print out the 50 pages, then re-read it and change it - AGAIN! Finally I just couldn't look at it one more time, and I boxed the whole thing up and sent it!

Best of luck! But just a small word of caution - Last year I thought my entry would final for sure because it was head and shoulders better than my last entry. And it had done well in the contest circuit. What a blow when it received mediocre scores. So on the off chance you get some horrible judges, just know it's not about you and your writing. But I'm 99.9 per cent sure it will do Fabulous!

Flinging pixie dust all the way to Houston!


sherrinda said...

You have your shopping done? And wrapped? And under the tree? I am so incredibly jealous!!!! Some day...some day....some day....that will be ME! :)

Terri Tiffany said...

I am so excited to see you mailed it out! I think you did the right thing-- I can tell you are a detailed person by the way you manage your interview page. I was quite impressed and remember thinking I wouldn't be so good at is as you are.
So with that said, I know your book is already perfect:)

Terra said...

That is a beautiful and original piece of bling to wear proudly and often.
It is hard to release our babies, our mss., when we always think we can improve them.
I struggle with this too.

Keli Gwyn said...

Sue, kudos to you for knowing when to say when. The desire to tweak until the last minute is a hard one to fight, but you're the victor. I wish you all the best and hope to see your name among the finalists this year. Since I've been privileged to read your work as a contest judge, I know how well you write and anticipate great things for you.

Sherrinda, I start my Christmas shopping in January each year. That way I can take advantage of sales throughout the year and don't have to deal with the crowds at Christmas. Plus, I have a daughter who loves Christmas and will remind me of my need to get the shopping done many times if it's not completed by November. The wrapping is quick and easy since we made earthy-friendly, reusable drawstring bags a number of years back. The assortment of Christmas fabrics look nice under the tree, and we think the bags do a far better job of disguising their contents than paper.

Terri, you have me pegged. Those who know me best describe me as detail-oriented and organized. I admit to being a recovering perfectionist with a touch of OCD. My daughter laughs and says I'm not OCD, I'm CDO, which is OCD alphabetized. The book that went out isn't perfect, but I'm OK with that. Even if it is published one day, it won't be perfect. I'm sure I'd still see ways to improve it. I've heard some authors say they won't read their own books for that very reason.

Terra, thanks for visiting my blog. I took a peek at yours and see that you've published many articles and a Christmas anthology. Congrats! That's way cool.