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Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Writing Process

Photo by Laura Bear
A week of highs and lows. I got a lovely invitation to send my manuscript to a publisher for review, thanks to a kind endorsement by Gregory Norris. The same day, I got another quick rejection from an agent. Polite, but quick!

I have been working on my query letter and finally figured out that I needed to change the font in my manuscript to Times New Roman, but it messes up the format, so I have more to do before I send it out to any more people.

The learning process can be so slow sometimes. I have been trying to learn how to play the mandolin on and off for several years now, but I hit a plateau. My fingers don't move with enough dexterity to play anything very fast. My fingers still ache when I try to play more difficult chords, like the four-finger G so necessary to bluegrass music. I am cursed with fleshy, double jointed fingers that don't hold the steel strings tight to the fretboard. Yet, I can coax a warm resonance from the wood when I relax a little (but not so much that I lose the pressure on the strings). The process can be frustrating, especially when you want to play like David Grisman or Ricky Skaggs or Tim O'Brien or even like they did when they were first learning. Or like they do with one finger. Or, well, you get the idea.

Writing comes a little more naturally to me, but it's still a learning process. How to do it better. How to forge ideas for new work. How to figure out the whole business aspect of writing. How to figure out all this social media and word processing hooey. It can be frustrating when I focus only on publishing. So, instead, I try to focus on the process. Placing one word in front of the other because that's what I am called to do. Just like life, writing is a journey, or it can be. Keep the focus on the trip itself and enjoy the scenery. When you reach your destination, you'll know how you got there so you can come home.

Enjoy your week. May it be fruitful and scenic.