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“Keep your head down and just WRITE”… or “How to empty your water pitcher”

Grapes through a water pitcher

Image by quinn.anya via Flickr

I’ve been following that first bit of advice for the past four weeks. It’s been working, up to a point, but I must admit that all work and no play makes Jane a dull… and resentful… girl. Sheridan’s not immune either. Hence, the second quote.

I recently pitched the first novel I had ever written. To my amazement, I not only had a request for 100 pages from an editor, but also a request for a full from an agent.

Sounds great, right? It IS great. No question there.

The problem is that, as I said, it’s the FIRST novel I ever wrote. It’s been sitting in my computer for well over a year, and during that time, I’ve been focusing on developing my craft. The craft of writing.

I’ve attended conferences, listened to lectures, and taken classes. I’ve studied deep point-of-viewcharacterization, the hero and heroine archetypes, creating hooks, writing strong opening chapters, the hero’s journey, and the use of dialogue tags. In doing all of this, I’ve developed confidence and my voice has become stronger. Going through this process has made my writing better than it was when I wrote my first full-length manuscript, and that’s the crux of my problem.

Now, as I review my work and prepare to send it in, I see many things I want to improve. There are parts of my manuscript I love, and parts that make me cringe… I mean, what was I thinking? I want to send in the BEST that I can currently produce, so it needs to be polished.

I’ve been editing furiously, and my critique partners, a beautiful, amazing, talented group of women, have been supporting me. But even with all of the support I’ve been getting, I was beginning to burn out. I kept pouring water out of my water pitcher of creativity and inspiration, but I wasn’t taking time to refill it.

Then came last night’s game of laser tag at Laser Storm. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but I finally did something to refill my pitcher. I could feel my creativity and energy flowing back into me.

After all, summer only comes once a year, and kids grow up fast, right? I can’t just sit and write. I also need to go EXPERIENCE some things.

Although it might take a me couple extra days to finish, at least my family and I will be sane at the end of my rewrite.

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About Sheridan Jeane

Sheridan Jeane writes exciting and emotion-packed historical romances set in the Victorian Era that confront issues of trust and conformity. With the advent of the industrial age, life was changing. Many people tried to hold on to the old ways of life while others embraced the new opportunities open to them. Join Sheridan as she explores the clash between the old and the new. Sheridan has always loved books, history, and stories about amazing people who blaze new trails. Despite naming their daughter Sheridan because they thought it might someday look great on the cover of a book, Sheridan's parents urged her in a more practical direction for college. Sheridan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science with a minor in English. Facebook: www.Facebook.com/SheridanJeane Twitter: @SheridanJeane Web: www.SheridanJeane.com

5 responses »

  1. I find that reading helps refill the creativity well for me.

    Reply
    • I agree. Reading helps quite a lot. I think I’ve been denying myself EVERYTHING in a misguided effort to finish quickly. I say misguided, because that short time I spent doing something fun with my kids last night made a tremendous difference in my energy level. I should have done it sooner!

      Reply
  2. Sounds like you’re doing a great job avoiding burnout! I’ve been struggling with that lately. Good luck getting your novel ready&madsh;how exciting! And thanks for the link!

    Reply
  3. Winnie Ferguson

    I am so happy for you-Dad and I are your biggest fans(after Bob and the boys). We are waiting!

    BUT — you are right the boys are growing fast. enjoy them at every possible opportunity. Take time to smell the roses, play laser tag or whatever is needed

    Love you
    Mom

    Reply
  4. Awww – right back at you critique partner! I completely agree – there comes a point where sitting in front of your computer screen becomes more of a drain than an outlet. And writing may go a little slower with the kids out of school, but that’s okay. The upside of a job with no pay (yet) is the flexible hours, right?

    Reply

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