"A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others."-Ayn Rand
What was dormant in me is reawakened when I was hit by lightning and metaphorical lightning struck twice yesterday and today.
So, the synergy of it all is great, starting yesterday with my awakening to a Samoan writer, Lani Wendt Young. I haven’t read her work (yet), just the freebie on Amazon and I'm ready for more. I did read her blog, liked her on Facebook page and checked out her list of works. Her books are in my shopping cart and after my move to Washington State this fall, I will add her to my library. Lani self-published a trilogy Telesa and When Water Burns so far, among other works.
I identify with her struggles as a writer, mom and Islander Goddess. Her young adult novels center on a Samoan heroine, which in itself is needed. Check out her blog SleeplessinSamoa here.
So, I hopped on (that's a dainty description-let's say attacked) my manuscripts yesterday. One, in its third draft has found itself being passed around friends and family for critique. I describe this novel as my “ugly baby” which is terrible, but when a writer thinks their first draft is gorgeous and perfect and can do no wrong—well, then he/she is setting themselves up for disappointment. I learned this the hard way when I sent out first drafts to about 10 agents…FIRST DRAFT! Rookie mistake in 2009. Several agents gave me useful feedback, but now I realize that time, review, a thick skin and openness to honest criticism were necessary (oh, and chocolate). I couldn’t learn this quickly. It takes time, for a mom and wife, years even.
So, almost three years later, I’ve given the full manuscript to one friend and boldly asked a cousin I admire to read and slaughter as necessary yesterday--again, because of Lani. And, I'm further pushed because my cousin/beta reader/literary soul sister has given me back gold--criticism, suggestions and praise I can be fueled by. So, I’m eager to start anew. Looking at my project with fresh eyes. Living and breathing and loving the characters and world I created again. I don’t like to call myself a romantic writer, but I am. My depiction of love is humorous, warped and with flaws, but it’s my universe and I’m glad I can create and share. After another few drafts, I think I’ll be ready to get back in line to cha cha with real world agents.
It’s easy for me to shelf my writing projects. Of course, motherhood-wifehood-domestic goddesshood take precedence. But, once I feel unbalanced and the other “children” cry for me…I have to attend to them. I don’t garden or bake or sew or do music, I write. So, the flood gates have opened with new inspiration, new purpose and new direction. I’m buzzing with excitement, so much so that I’ve done more in two days than I have in the last month-writing wise. I’m coming down from a Comic Con high from a few weeks ago, so that experience is weaving into a new book idea I drafted today. It could change. One thing I know for sure, that my first draft won’t be perfect, but it will get done. Happy writing or sewing or gardening or whatever you love to you all.