Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Tug of Another World

My goal for this summer was to finish my contemporary novel and get its proposal spit-shined and ready for my agent.

I think I may need to stop setting goals.

The idea behind the goal was to get used to an imposed deadline. When The Ryn is picked up by a publisher, there will (very likely) be a deadline put on me for its sequel, Prophet's Daughter (which is in its beginning stages). I wanted to give myself a deadline as well as have a second, very different manuscript "out there" making the rounds of the publishers.

As I'm sure you've surmised... the contemporary novel is still unfinished. So much for setting goals...

I missed out on a lot of family time during the summer and autumn of 2007 because I was on an extended mental trip to E'veria, editing and re-writing multiple drafts of The Ryn. I was unavailable mentally and often physically and emotionally to my family because I was so wrapped up in those characters in that other world. Finally, in February of 2008, I got a wake up call from two fellow writers. Charlotte Cole and Preslaysa Williams gently, but firmly, explained the selfishness and sinfulness of my behavior. I tried to make excuses, but they all fell flat--I was sacrificing one call for another. I needed to find balance in my writing life and family life. I needed to re-evaluate my priorities.

With God's help, I found that balance during the spring of 2008. I wrote when my kids were at school and quit right before they got home. I wrote when they were at play dates, I researched while they played Webkinz at the library. I planned and served actual meals instead of the afterthoughts that had sufficed over the past year's intense time of writing.

No, I wasn't perfect. Some days I failed. Okay, there were a few stretches of days in which I failed miserably... but I gained a new awareness that did not let the failure grow into a habit.

And then came summer vacation.

Writing time was a near-constant source of frustration this summer. For the first six weeks of summer vacation, I bemoaned my lack of quality writing time and whined a lot about how I wasn't possibly going to meet my self-imposed deadline.

Then we took a vacation. Four short days of Florida fun that allowed me to step back from my whining and re-evaluate my goal.

Suddenly, I realized I could still use what little time I had not to create, but to edit, to polish, and to refine what I had already written. So I did. I took the little snatches of time for what they were... and something magical happened.

I started hearing from God again about my writing... and, just in time for school to start again, I started to feel the tug of another world (to paraphrase Mr. Lewis).

When the big yellow bus takes my girls to their assigned locations, just ten days from now, I'm heading back to E'veria. As it turns out, God has some big plans for a certain reluctant prophet and a missing child that he wants to let me in on. And the timing couldn't be better. Isn't that just like Him?

My contemporary novel is not shelved, but side-lined. It's waiting. Waiting breathlessly for those snippets of time that take more attention to detail than creative prowess. And I believe it will be finished... that creative prowess will return to have its moment in the sun... but on a deadline set by a higher authority than some thirty-five-year-old sometime-whiner.

That other world is tugging at me. When school starts my workday schedule will take me across the varied planes of reality and into a little known kingdom where Truth is sought in new and fantastic ways. I pray Christ's reflection is evident even in the first draft of Prophet's Daughter... because when a story comes alive, Fiction Mirrors Truth.