Writing Is A Scary Business

I believe I've mentioned in this blog--and more often on Facebook--how well the novel writing is going. I made a commitment at the beginning of 2011 to "submerge" myself in the novel I've put off writing for, oh, I'd say a good 4-5 years now. I've done well with that commitment. I've written over 10,000 words, most of it in character development and plot points and rough scene outlines, but 10,000 words, nonetheless. 

Now it's time to start writing the book. I've got my characters. I know (most) of their motivations. I have my setting. I've written the outline. There's nothing left for it but to write the book. 

And yet, I hesitate. 

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What's Up In Dena's World?

This week has our favorite writer feeling frazzled. To get a grip on life (and because she has, like, ZERO energy to come up with anything more creative), here's a quick peek behind the wizard's curtain:


  • 2 newsletter articles
  • Developmental edit on book due to editor
  • Write, rewrite, rip apart and write again children's book for client
  • Conduct interviews, interviews, interviews for other book for client
  • Transcribe interviews, interviews, interviews
  • Write book from interviews, interviews, interviews
  • Compose query letter and sample columns for magazine I want to work for as a columnist
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Stroke of Good Luck

The middle grade novel I'm working on has an 11-year-old bee-keeping girl as a side character. I've been reading books on honeybees in order to add realistic details to the story and hoping to be able to find someone who keeps hives so I could observe.

BINGO. Thank you, fate. Friday as I'm sitting in a cofeehouse typing, I hear a customer at the counter talking to the shop owner about her honeybee hives, and how they only have one now but are getting ready to introduce four more boxes (or hives).

I grabbed a business card, popped out of my chair, and ran up front to introduce myself. The outcome being that this woman said they had an extra netting and if I wanted to observe them with the hive, I was welcome to. She's going to call me to arrange a time.

SO EXCITED. And a little nervous. I have a huge fear of bees. Never been stung. But I'm willing to suffer for my art. Or at least run screaming in an unncessary panic up a stranger's yard. ;)

Isn't it amazing how the Universe will so often deliver exactly what you need? Now I'm thinking of a large chocolate milkshake... let's see what comes my way.

Ignoring My Last Post

In Friday's post I wrote about making writing a priority and saying no to others. However, if I had followed that advice I would not have attended the outstanding Foster Friends writing workshop yesterday. And that would have been a severe loss, indeed.

The Foster Friends network of NC is sponsoring an art and essay contest for children in the Foster Care system in our area. First prize is a $500 savings bond. I was asked by a friend in the program if I would facilitate the 2-hour writing workshop held yesterday. I said yes, and a friend from my writer's group, Daniel, who used to teach Jr. High English, went with me. Thank God. Daniel is a teaching whiz and quickly connected with the kids. For example, to demonstrate the importance of using specific language, he did this marvelous peanut butter and jelly exercise where he had one student instruct him how to make a PB&J sandwich. When told to take the bread out of the ziplock bag, he ripped at the opposite end of the bag that had the zipper. When told to put the peanut butter on the bread, he stacked the jar on top of the bread. And, when told to "squish together" the pieces of bread that had the peanut butter on one and jelly on the other, he left the jelly side up and squished his hand into it--to the great delight of the kids.

The kids were... brilliant. Open and communicative and serious about writing. Ages ranged from 8 to 16, yet the room jelled. I came home and told Blair only half-kiddingly that there is now an 8-year-old boy out there I want to adopt.  The 8 year old boy came with 2 paragraphs already written for the contest which Daniel read over and helped him with. A 10 or 11 year old girl asked me to read the 2 and 1/2 pages she'd written. The essay is private so I won't share the contents here but... oh my God. Simply but beautifully written, heartbreaking, honest. It was an honor to spend time with these kids. I never would have wanted to miss the chance to work with them.

So I guess the lesson is... be careful what you consider saying no to or you might miss out on some really special opportunities in life.