Looking back at the papers I saved from that period, there were exercises on stream on consciousness writing, dialog, taking postcards and writing a scene based on the picture. There were more, and through this I learned the three most essential things for a writer are:
- Quit thinking so much. Inspiration is at your fingertips everyday.
- Patience is a necessity of writing.
- It helps to have friends.
But, a wonderful thing happened almost two years ago. I met my friends and we formed The Writerly Pause. There's a core of about 5 people, and we --John Yelverton, Sovann Somreth, John Louis Peters, David Cossaboom, and myself have all taken turns being Indiana Jones.
For the past year, amid some daunting familial and financial upheavals, I've been working sporadically on the final rewrite of my novel. There were times when I forgot the story line, when I couldn't remember the names of characters. Now, I understand that this was caused by the stress of the tumultuous times. It was never a matter of me being stuck in a rut --I would have loved a rut, but the day's schedule could literally turn in a moment. Often I had to write in short bits --stolen minutes of time between disasters. Through it all, I was encouraged by people like Frank Schaeffer and Patricia Wood as well as all my friends in The Writerly Pause.
This blog was a lifeline on the days when I couldn't write because the stress of being a caretaker was utterly disorienting. These were the times when all I could do was blog...blogging is a form of conversation. And boy, did I need to talk! So thank you all!
Scene 74 was finished today. It is the final chapter. As it turns out, I like my book.
Tomorrow I'll follow the example of Frank and Patricia. I'll print it up, put it in a binder, read it through, make notations and then, in a final flurry... make the changes and then send it out to a few well-chosen readers. No it's not over. A new part is just beginning. But yes, this is a really great step.