Tuesday, July 28, 2015

This year things will be different: Plan B

Last year I left  this wonderful writer’s conference (Midwest Writer's Workshop in Muncie, IN)  with my weakling spirit crushed by doubts.  Suddenly nothing I wrote seemed authentic, original, creative, compelling, you name it.  I blogged about it here.  And except for blogging and a few flash fiction contests, I took a breather from writing the last twelve months.  Another way to say that might be I lost my nerve, which has happened half a dozen times now over 20 years plus.
Well last week I attended the conference again. Even though my embattled ego said don’t do it, something inside me said try again.  I came up with plan B.  Instead of signing up to pitch the to oh-so-exciting NYC literary agents, or have an expert review my query letter, or even have a perfectly nice person/author critique my first 500 words, I changed my tactics. I attended Thursday only, which is a full day with one author, on craft. Writing.  It was what I needed, motivational, and I enjoyed learning from Martha Brockenbrough very much. (Future post on FORTITUDE)

Then I departed Muncie and Plan B  evolved as I spent the next 72 hours in Middle-Of-Nowhere Indiana, with only coffee, wine, and a thousand and one fireflies to talk to:

Just me, alone in a cabin in the boondocks, writing, revising, tearing apart and stitching back together.  There is only so much writing you can do in 72 hours, but it was….so enriching. 

Silence.   An old Beatles LP on the turntable. Porch swing over looking this:

Books to savor, interspersed with writing, accented by chocolate, naps, wine and walking in nature. Alone.  A-happyme-lone.   To think without anyone interrupting any single thought.  No cell service, no internet.  No television.  No jet ski or shopping mall or even gas station within 20 minutes. (that I know of)  I took over 100 photos and plan to show more here in coming weeks.  But here is my
"Still Life for Girl Weekend" :

As you can see I brought only survival foods, as I did not leave the property for a full 48 hours, and so I came prepared. 

I had some highly productive work sessions, where I took my first draft of current work in process, and started playing with the scenes and revising:

But nature was the star of my weekend. The sun.  The bees.  The air.  I breathe.  The queen Anne's lace, the endless wildflower meadows.  Much serenity.  Space, room.  No hurrying, clocks, no schedules, appointments, no meetings, no target dates.  Just me and my sharpy and  a stack of index cards.  It was damn near heavenly.