I am on cloud nine. Want to shout from the rooftops. I just finished a short story that almost killed me to write. Why was this one so hard? I don’t know. Maybe because I had only a vague idea and not enough of a story before I embarked on the writing so it turned out to be an exercise in “pantsing” which I rarely do. (Pantsing is an author euphemism for writing by the seat of your pants. I hate it and rarely do it.) It was also the first time I decided to write a story within guidelines someone else set for me. We all know how I do with rules, right? Plus it’s my first short-story length foray into writing horror. All these things commenced in a perfect storm of really hard months of writing.
Last month I almost threw the whole thing in the trash and never looked back. I had admitted that all I had were a couple of really cool scenes that I’d wanted to write and once they were down on paper there wasn’t enough meat to create a story from them. Luckily I have a fabulous writing group that includes my editor who is phenomenal at developmental editing. Last month they asked me hard questions that I couldn’t answer yet about the story I wanted to tell and set me on the right path to finding the story I had lurking in my brain waiting for me to find it. Neither of those first scenes even made it to the finished draft.
Nights of writer’s block and avoidance that I had to overcome didn’t help get me to the finish line. But I had the willpower to continue in spite of them. There is a submission deadline looming, after all, dangling a carrot called a publishing credential. It helps to hear people who’ve read some of my other work ask when they can read more to keep me going in the dark depths of despair when I don’t think I have an ending I can pull out of my ass. So thank you if you’re one of my vocal fans, it means a lot.
Now to let it sit for a few days, figure out what I can whittle down so it meets the submission criteria and then get it to my editor. It truly takes a village to get to publication but the creative process of getting the first draft down feels much like giving birth to another child. Every time. This one is about a ghost, and a baby, and I don’t have a title yet. Maybe someday the public will read it but today is when I finished the first draft of it.
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