Yes. I radically changed the look of my blog.
Because I have a new perspective. God blessed me this week. He used two people to speak truth to me, and my eyes were opened. I'm filled with hope, joy, and a burgeoning sense of excitement.
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One of the people who helped me is my friend and life coach. Four years ago, when my daughter had started high school and no longer needed me in the ways she had before, Karin helped me explore my interests and identify my long-time dream of being a writer.
As some of you know, I was given a tremendous Christmas gift this past December: an offer of representation from Rachelle Gardner of WordServe Literary. I shared this exciting news with Karin, who rejoiced with me. This week I asked her to don her life coach hat once again and help me examine my priorities since I'm in a far different place than I was when we'd last worked together. One of my desires is to help other writers in whatever ways I can.
In the past I've been hesitant to share my struggles. To admit I wage a daily battle with self-doubt. To be real.
No more. Karin helped me see that exposing my vulnerabilities can be beneficial to me and to others.
When I interview my guests at Romance Writers on the Journey, I often ask them questions about discouragement and doubt. Their answers have inspired me. I've learned I'm not alone in my feelings of inadequacy. I've also seen how encouraging it can be to hear how my guests faced their challenges and what they learned as a result of them.
So, I'm going to shake off my self-constraints, be more honest about the ups and downs of my journey, and hope I can be a source of encouragement to others as so many have been to me.
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The second person who spoke truth this week was my awesome agent. When Rachelle made her offer of representation, she told me my story needed work. She called this week to discuss the revisions.
I'd had six weeks to worry about what Rachelle's concerns were. And when it comes to worrying, sad to say, I'm an expert. My critique partner, Anne Barton, suggested I write down everything Rachelle might say, which I did. My Worst Case Scenario List included the need to work on characterization, believability, pacing, plot issues, and length–to name a few.
Rachelle called this past Monday, and we spent an hour going over her thoughts on my story. I learned that my List wasn't BIG enough. The story was in worse shape than I thought. In the course of our conversation, she showed me how I had started with a great conflict. However, I had inadvertently released the tension one fourth of the way into the story. She likened it to letting the air out of the balloon too soon.
The fix? Are you ready?
I have to rewrite the final three-quarters of the book. Actually, that's not exactly true. I have to write a new story, the one that goes with the new beginning I'd added.
What? Ditch 75,000 words and start over?
Yup! But not to worry. I'm fine with that. In fact, I'm honestly looking forward to it. Rachelle saw the major weaknesses in my story, which I had been unable to see, and conveyed them to me with a balance of compassion and directness I admire and appreciate. Because I want to produce the best story I possibly can, I'm more than willing to press "delete" and start over.
Those of you who remember that I spent a significant portion of last year rewriting this very story may wonder how I can face a massive rewrite and not be disheartened, dismayed, and depressed. I can do so because of my perspective. I have a new vision of what my story can become.
I spent five years working for a special education textbook publishing company some years ago, one of those as an assistant editor. When I began writing, I didn't entertain starry-eyed visions of selling my first book. I knew I had a great deal to learn and expected my path to publication to span several years.
Four years have passed since I began writing. Because I'm a teacher's wife, I will use an education analogy and liken this time to earning my bachelor's in creative writing. I've graduated and embarked on the next phase, that of working with my esteemed professor (aka my agent) and am now pursuing my Master's degree. My thesis project is my novel. Under the tutelage of my knowledgeable instructor, Dr. Gardner, I will learn how to take my writing to the next level.
I'm on a journey, one I knew would involve highs and lows. While some might view the news I received as a downer, I don't see it that way. I have a story Rachelle and I believe has potential to be something far greater than it is now; her knowledge, experience, and guidance; the support and assistance of my husband and critique partner, among many others; and a desire to put forth the effort required to produce a story worthy of submission.
In addition, I have a Savior who upholds me and Who has revealed to me repeatedly that I'm where He wants me to be. I look forward to seeing what He has in store and in sharing my progress (and my pitfalls) with you.
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Have there been times in your life when someone spoke truth and gave you a new way of viewing a situation or circumstance? How did you respond? What did you learn from the experience?