Sunday, September 16, 2018

Abandoned Blog Posts

I have been editing like a mad woman. And when I say mad woman, I mean, in every spare minute I have, as if I know what I am doing, tears have been shed and I am already behind schedule on day 16. I finished writing my first book in August, and on September 1st, the arduous task of editing began.  Well, life then took over. Two kids returned to school, I set up and ran a three day garage sale during Steamboat Days, our small town annual celebration, and I resumed my fall work schedule.  I also began teaching a new fall bible study, attending my own regular study, and trying to keep up with all other demands of life, I quickly fell behind.  I have completed the first 30 pages of editing and formatting, and the last 25 pages.

My book contains 88 short stories and 25 poems. I was feeling overwhelmed and knew that I needed to make some progress fast, so editing and formatting the 25 poems first seemed like a good place to start. I then sat down yesterday and wrote and edited the cover page, the dedications and the preface.  Today, I edited the first 5 short stories which totaled 30 pages.  Hence, here I am taking a break. And using words like hence.

I didn't realize that I was actually writing a book until I was 50,000 words into it and was compiling my work all into once piece.  I started to see a flow, a rhythm and knew that a book was formulating whether I liked it or not.  I toiled wondering about story order, if I should break it down into stories about my childhood, present day and special needs parenting. I wondered if readers would be able to understand the message that I am trying to convey if they were to read it one story at a time.  I then found that the majority of my short stories can stand on their own.  The reader will be able to understand the background of my life easily just from the words that have already been committed to the page. There are nine stories that I will need to add additional information to once I start editing them.  Information that will give a bit more insight to who I am, what I was experiencing and what I was feeling. Sometimes what even compelled me to write about a certain subject matter in the first place.

Many of my short stories are snippets of emotions. Yes, of emotions and feelings I have experienced, but ones that the reader will connect with. Ones that the reader will pause and say, yes, I, too, have felt like that.  I want my stories to help the reader evaluate, remember, experience and move forward. To forgive, to  change course, to keep loving, to turn around, to run away.  I want the reader to be moved.

In the past 16 days, I have also observed that my blog posts are becoming few and far between. I often start writing and they end up being a mess. Those messy abandoned ones, glare at me in red print every time I sit down to write or edit. 

Fall Family Receipe's
When September Makes Me Ache
Why I Won't Continue
The Ballerina
Backpacks and Lunchbags
Golf in the Dining Room
Can't Stop, Won't Stop
Some Has To

These are the abandoned blog posts. All 8 of them.  Someday, they may be revisited. Maybe not.  But, these are some great titles.  They were the starts to some great short stories. But they were not stories I was ready to write.

Lily asked about the story Why I Won't Continue as she was sitting next to me on couch.  She was reading through her script for her school play, her attention waned.  "Mom, what won't you continue?" 

I smiled at her and replied, "I won't continue to send text messages that aren't appreciated. To put in effort when it isn't wanted. To care when it just ends up hurting so much."

Lily looked at me a bit confused. "Mom, you told me to never give up.  It sounds like you are giving up.  Maybe you should continue. You told me once that hurt was going to happen whether I liked it or not."  I just stared at her.

How is it possible that this amazing child can be so very wise and influence me when she doesn't really know what I am talking about? Needless to say, I have scratched this abandoned blog post from my list. I will continue today, because my 11 year old daughter told me to.

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