The Beginning, Again

Just as the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, so the journey of a story begins with one idea. As of this morning I find myself at the beginning again; it is time to step forward with that one idea that will lead to the journey of writing my third novel.

I’m both excited and apprehensive for this particular journey because while I have plenty of time to plan for NaNoWriMo 2017, I have fewer ideas of where this story should start and where it’s going. As of now there is a cast of characters in my mind and a few situations they find themselves in, but that’s it. 

And that’s okay. One of the most exciting parts of a journey is exploring, and I can’t wait to find what I discover as I wrap up my first series with this third installment. 

How do you approach the start of a new piece? Do you wait until your are brimming with ideas or begin with just a thought or a single scene? Something in between?

– Melinda

The Deadline: A Lesson Learned

Saturday, August 5th, 2017 is the deadline for submitting my manuscript to my writers’ critique group.

I’ve known since the end of the winter that I was in the slot for the August critique, and so months ago I laid out my elaborate timeline: a month dedicated to research followed by two months to write the second draft, with June and July dedicated to polishing the piece before submission. 

So how am I looking three days before the due date? 

Truth be told, I beat the deadline and got it in today! And by it, I mean the first half-of the book that could stand to use a little more research and was not nearly as polished as I would have liked. 😖 (It works out because I was only required to submit as much as I had, not the whole manuscript). 🙂

Here’s the lesson learned: life happens. Bills are due so attendance at the day job is mandatory, friends wish to remain as such so there are gatherings and outings, dinner needs made every night, family matters, and sleep is necessary. It all happens while you are being creative, so even the best and most elaborate plans sometimes fall by the wayside. And that’s okay. Especially when being with a loved one could be for the very last time.

As I write this I am sitting in a room with a very special lady who has known me since the day I was born. She is sleeping so I am pondering. These are likely the very last days I will have to be in her presence.  Three more days of polishing words that I can tinker with later are not nearly as important as spending time with someone who might not be with us tomorrow.

Create the elaborate plans. Work hard, get the work done, and do your best to be professional and make the deadline. But whatever you do, don’t do it at the sacrifice of time you can never get back.

– Melinda