Renaissance: Reviving my Muse

I’ve written before about the creative slump I’ve been in since my child was born 3 years ago. All the long-form works I’ve put out since then have been projects I began before her birth. In most cases, the entire first draft had been done prior to her arrival.

Truthfully, the complete lack of creative drive and new ideas scared me. It felt like something inside me had died, and that’s a pretty permanent feeling. I had this secret fear that I would never have another idea for any other novel for the rest of my life. But I slogged along, hoping that somehow the spark would rekindle.

I did all I could to stoke the fire. I took workshops, I went to conferences, I blogged, I read, I began writing short stories, I hung out with really cool fellow writers. I kept writing—even if it wasn’t very good. Most of the time I felt like I was getting nowhere really, really fast.

But then a strange thing happened. I went to the 2013 Philadelphia Writer’s Conference—and came away with stirrings I hadn’t felt in close to 3 years. Whispers of the Muse. Sparks. Nothing concrete, but a sign that all hope was not lost.

The fire burst forth in full conflagration just a few weeks ago. I had a long day of driving ahead of me. Usually, I love this alone time and don’t even turn on the radio. With a curious 3-year-old around, quiet is something I rarely have, so I find solo drives soothing. But with over 4 hours on the road, I knew I wanted some music this time.

So I stocked the CD player with songs I hadn’t listened to in years—songs that have a strong writing connotation for me. Songs that evoke particular stories I’ve written, characters I’ve created, and worlds I’ve imagined. Songs that take me back to a time long before marriage and child, and even before adulthood. A time when creativity geysered out of my brain.

And a new novel was born.

By the time I got home, the characters, the world, the backstory—all of it—glowed there in my mind, longing to break free. I jotted notes and reveled in the whirling dance. Although I can’t jump in with both feet right now (trying to finish another project on a deadline), my shiny new object is waiting for me like a reward. Just knowing it is there makes me giddy.

This new novel has a long way to go before it becomes anything, but I have not been in this stage of creation for so long that I had forgotten the elation of it. While I am certain the sleep deprivation and motherhood will make my creative process less than smooth, I am once more standing at the start of a new adventure.

And it feels amazing.

Have you ever lost your writing mojo? How did you get it back?

GoosesQuill FB

Adventures in Queryland

I’ve sent out 4 queries for my WIP. I’ve heard back from one, and am in limbo for the rest. The long wait times are not unexpected—I’ve been here before. It is funny, though, how jazzed I get when I first send queries out. I check my email every hour for the first couple of days. Then slowly the adrenaline fades and I check a couple of times a day.

I wrote a while back about patience being a writing virtue when it comes to revision. Patience is also needed once you reach the query stage. Sometimes it takes weeks for an agent to get to your query. And some agents have that no-response-no-interest that lengthens the silence into eternity. While I am not a fan of that, I do understand where they are coming from. I do wish that all agents would set up an auto-response confirming they got your query, though. As the silence stretches, I can’t help but wonder if my email missed the mark and is lost in the ether somewhere!

So I am back to patience again. I do intend to send out a few more queries this week, but then will likely wait a few weeks before sending out another round. And of course if I get no responses by November, I will probably suspend querying until January, since the holidays make things grind to almost a halt in the publishing world, as far as new acquisitions go.

I have heard over and over on various blogs and from successful authors that to make it in the traditional publishing world requires (aside from a great book) patience and perseverance. I think I’ve got the patience thing going on, and I don’t have any intention of giving up, so hopefully I’m good!

I already can hear some of my writing buddies wondering why I don’t just self-publish, and cut through the waiting. I have nothing against self-publishing, and fully expect to use it for certain projects in my career (particularly the genealogy books I am writing). But for my first book, and hopefully for the majority of them, I would like to have the backing of an agent and publisher. It’s just a personal preference—what I need to feel more secure when starting this new phase of my career.

So for right now I am waiting. But I am not idle. I am working on an outline for a sequel, and I have another middle grade in mid-revision right now. I am also returning to a YA paranormal that I feel is almost “there” but needs another look now that I have learned so much in revising my current WIP in submission. Because that is another piece of advice I have heard over and over:

Never. Stop. Writing.

It is the cure for over-active nerves while waiting to hear from agents.

Patience. It really is a writing virtue.

WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien