Writing and Building a Chicken Coop

Some of you might have noticed that I’ve been posting a bit more on the blog. Here is what happened:

Back in November I received my agent’s response to the first hundred pages of my new novel. She provided detailed feedback, which indicated, quite kindly, that the characters were fuzzy and the novel more or less a convoluted mess. I sought the opinion of a friend with a good eye. The friend gently concurred with the diagnosis: “It reads like it was written with a lot of interruptions.” The situation in a nutshell.

I had to face that my life has changed drastically from when I had hours and hours to myself for ‘moodling time’ as writing teacher Brenda Ueland called it. Hours to focus on nothing but my writing. Today my life and home are filled with people who require my attention daily, and I haven’t seemed to be able to adjust to this change and still write as I used to do. I had to face that maybe my novel writing days were over. I felt crushed, and thoroughly lost.

My husband said to me, “Oh, forget about it and build the chicken coop.”

I looked at him, and I think a light-bulb could have been seen over my head. Perfect timing. I had a new creative goal. And I began to see all the things I could do, if I wasn’t writing.

Only funny thing. I discovered that I can’t stop writing. I find myself scribbling more in my journal, writing emails and comments and posts here on the blog, and wonderful paragraphs in my mind.

Then, as I helped with sawing and measuring and adjusting angles all over the place, I’ve found my mind doing the same adjusting with my novel. The concept is good…I love my characters (of course!)…I must clearly choose a lead character…just a bit of a change of the goal…and she says this, and then does that…

I am a writer, and a writer writes.  This apparently will not change, even though the world around me does. I find I still love writing a novel. When I am writing, I come alive. I’m brought once more to the truth that it isn’t the product but the process. Trust the writing process, and it will take me where I need to go. I write, I adjust, I write a little more. a lot like building this chicken coop.

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe. ~ Gustave Flaubert

I’m enjoying building the chicken coop and learning about chickens. I’ll be writing about it…and it’s likely going to show up in the novel.

12 thoughts on “Writing and Building a Chicken Coop

  1. Pingback: Weekend Highlights – Noteworthy Articles by Fellow Bloggers – Feb 04, 2012 « Granny's Parlour

  2. Pingback: Weekend Highlights – Noteworthy Articles by Fellow Bloggers – Feb 02, 2012 « Granny's Parlour

  3. Building a physical structure seems to realign the mind, doesn’t it? It is as if over time the creative brain crumbles, or slouches a bit too much under the weight of thought. Perhaps it is just doing something totally different for a moment that realigns the mind and unfolds within it a map so that we can see the way clearly again. Thank you for the reminder.


    • It is the working of the hands, relaxing and enjoying that, that lets the mind also relax and just do what it needs to do, I think. So often I am pushing my mind around. If I just let it do at it’s own pace and manner, it works wonders. Hard to do in this fast-paced world. Thanks for stopping in. 🙂


  4. Life can’t keep a good writer down (for long anyway)! Your little set back gave you permission to devote some time to something else for a while and released all those brain cells to form in different ways. Besides, two heads are always better than one on anything. Measure twice, cut once!! And, the reason for all those interruptions won’t be around forever. They grow up and live their lives, but they will have precious memories and so will you. Even if you can’t manage to devote the required time to write a book, we enjoy hearing from you on the blog. Good luck with the chicken house, the pondering, and the writing, no matter the kind.


    • Brenda– thank you for sharing encouragement with me! I was just thinking similar yesterday when my two little ‘interruptions’ came running across the yard to me. How precious– I’m given a second chance to have little ones in my life. What a gift! Nothing means more. I am content. Thank you, again.


  5. When you first talked about the chicken coop, I thought maybe you were building a spot just for yourself, for time away, for meditation, prayer, and in the end, writing. Take care of yourself–we need you.


    • A dozen times already, I’ve wished we had designed it as a small room/shed so that it would have been able to have another purpose, if we end up not liking raising chickens. Oh, well, live and learn.



  6. If I’ve left comments here before I can’t remember doing so. But that doesn’t surprise me; I’m losing memory rapidly (which is not a bad thing). I enjoy reading your blog and sharing your success and your difficulties with writing and with life.
    Post a picture of that chicken coop when it’s finished and I’ll send you a photo of the iguana cage I built with my daughter for her pet during a similar writing slump.


  7. I held my breath as I read that post, hoping you’d end by stating that you would not give up writing! Thankfully, you did!
    CurtissAnn’s Chicken Chronicles ~ I can’t wait to read about the chickens and the new coop. When you lived on the plains of Oklahoma, did you ever see yourself as an Alabama chicken rancher? Isn’t it wonderful how we keep changing and adjusting in ways we could never have dreamed of?


    • Nola– LOL! at ‘CurtissAnn’s Chicken Chronicles’. Yes, it has started. As we’ve been building our coop, we have had to make many an adjustment for boards not exactly fitting right. I figure it is simply preparation for many more adjustments ahead as a chicken owner. And for life. Thank you for your words of wisdom, dear friend.



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