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.