When the Flood Gates Open

Thursday, October 05, 2017

If you’ve read any of my posts over the last year, you know that I’ve been somewhat blocked in my creative writing. I have a few different manuscripts that I’ve been tinkering with, but those often get put aside due to my paying freelance gigs. But in my last post, I put down in writing that I was revamping my personal blog so that I could get back into a regular writing schedule. I guess my thinking was that if I started writing and researching posts that interested me, other projects might follow, along with accountability!

I’ve written consistently on my blog for two weeks now, because I want to build the content back up there. While it has been time consuming, it has also been rewarding. Putting together a blog schedule was helpful in guiding my research and planning process. Just a few days after writing my first new blog post on my website, I sat down one evening and opened my computer. With my family bustling around me, I started typing. I’m sure they thought I was working on one of my regular deadlines, so they left me alone. I wrote a half a page before fussing at myself “You’re telling, not showing!” I deleted the first few paragraphs and started over.

Within an hour I had an almost 2,000-word short story draft. Now, this story wasn’t something that came out of the blue—I had filed away the idea for the piece after seeing an article on a TV crime show social media site. I knew the story needed some work but I passed it on to my husband that evening anyway. He has a hard time concentrating on reading because he has ADHD, but he finished the story pretty quickly and even said, “Wow.” I knew I must have done something right with that first draft. A few nights later, with my whole family out of the house, I sat down in front of my computer once again instead of turning on the television. After about an hour, I had another short story draft. This one didn’t wow my husband as much, because he said it was a “tough topic,” but I still think it has potential. There are a few short story contests coming up in October and I’m hoping to polish up at least one of these stories for submission. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I submitted anything to a contest!

So to recap, in the past two weeks, I’ve written six new blog posts and two short stories. My house is a wreck, my desk is piled with papers, but I feel more inspired than I have in years. I can’t explain the dry spells we go through as writers, but I will say that when the floodgates open you have to be prepared to go with it. What have you got to lose?

What are you working on these days? Have you been able to make any progress on a dream projects? Share your progress!

Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and editor who is embracing her love of writing fiction and personal stories once again, in between her magazine deadlines. Visit her blog at www.finishedpages.com.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--I have a good friend who once reminded me, "You know, when the kitchen floor is sticky because of spills, no one is in danger of slipping and falling."

No one is going to remember if your house was spotless or not. Sparkling floors and dust-free surfaces do nothing to feed your creative spirit. Bravo! Keep those priorities where they belong.

As for me, I'm about to consult an "expert" (in this case, an elderly person) about some cultural details. I've got lots of bits of slang and product names highlighted in my WIP that I need a second pair of eyes to look at...

And the beginning is still bothering me.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Renee, that's AWESOME!! Isn't it amazing when you have an idea and when you start writing, you know you're on to something and know it's good? Most of the time it's a process, but then there are those stories that just scream to you. I had a moment a few weeks ago where I was doing the dishes and an opening sentence just hit me with such clarity that I knew I had something great. I sat down and wrote out an essay in a little over an hour. I'd been looking for a way to share my story of abuse, but felt it's been done so much that I wanted to give it a new spin while obviously remaining truthful to fulfill the obligation of creative nonfiction. I turned it in to my editor, and only had to add a couple things, slight revisions, and shared it with my writing group for confirmation, and then boom, finished essay. It's rarely that easy. Now if I could get up the nerve to submit it! Maybe we can encourage each other. :)

It's sounds like this story is a winner. My hubby has ADHD and won't read anything I write, but will listen to me read things to him. So I know what it's like!

Over the past couple of months, I've written fourteen creative nonfiction pieces, most of them complete or near completion, some in various stages. I had the tamest one published and I'm working up the nerve to submit the others. I found several of my essays fall under a theme, so I'm keeping those together for a possible essay collection book.

When I first moved into this house almost a year ago, I did all the cleaning for months because I love a spotless house, but I'd never lived in a place this big so it took up way too much time. A post on the NextDoor app solved that problem, and voila, now I have a housecleaner who is worth every penny, saving me hours of work. I don't feel guilty or lazy about it, just relieved that I have more time to write.

Margo Dill said...

That is awesome, Renee. :) You have to write while the creativity is there because the dust always will be. :)

Renee Roberson said...

Sioux--Thank goodness for my husband who enjoys vacuuming and helped out with the floors this past weekend! I love that you are consulting an "expert" for those important little historical details that will tighten up your manuscript. Great idea!

Angela--You sound like you know what I'm talking about! That's amazing that you've been able to write and create so much all at once. Keep the momentum up! And yes, I'm trying to figure out how I can get someone to help with the housecleaning. Even once a month to get rid of the cobwebs and dust would be helpful.

Margo--Yes, the dust and dog hair will not be going away anytime soon, LOL.

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