OK, I’ve taken a deep breath. I’ll start with the concrete. I don’t feel that I can announce the details just yet since there is no ink on paper (does that metaphor even mean anything now, in the digital age?), but I’ve had two stories accepted in the last week! Hurray! It’s taken them awhile to find their homes, but I’m so pleased that they’ve each landed at the right markets. I’ll post more as the details are secured.
In the new writing front, I’ve had a “Eureka!” moment. You know the kind? When seemingly out of the blue, all the things people have told you, hinted at, tried to pound into your skull with a 2×4–whatever–suddenly snap into place and a clarity of understanding washes over you with a force that nearly takes your breath away?
I just had this. If you haven’t experienced it, I sincerely hope that you will. It’s utterly mind-blowing. At the same time, I’m smashing my fist to my forehead, repeating, “Geez, it was there, all the time! HOW could I not see this?” It’s as if all the reading, studying and critiquing suddenly reached a critical mass, and some mysterious catalyst fomented the information into some great gestalt, something so much greater than the sum of its parts that it boggles me still. This is the mystery (to me at least) of writing. The woo-woo bit that I’ve read so much about, but that can’t be bribed, forced or cajoled into arriving one iota before your brain is ready to accept it.
How do you prepare for it? Here’s what I did: Write. Read. Critique. Study. Rinse and repeat. Over and over and over again, ad infinitum, until at some point your brain surrenders to the inevitable and processes the information on a deeper level, making the connections you so desperately want/need/desire for your writing to advance. I honestly believe that from this point on my stories will get visibly better each time. That my breakthrough will show in the immediate quality of my writing. Wow.
Assuming, of course, that I don’t forget to keep writing while basking in the glow of my newfound confidence. “Yeah, I’m pretty sure I can do that now. So, what’s for dinner?” won’t imprint the new info. Only more writing will ingrain new good habits.
Guess what I’m doing for dinner? Writing.
The final thing I want to mention is that I don’t think my writing will get easier now. I’ll still have to struggle to identify the right characters, the right POV. I’ll still want to get sidetracked with cool details or wander lost as I figure out what the heck I’m really trying to write about here. But I’ll be able to come away with a salable story more often than not–which hasn’t always been the case.
Have you had a “Eureka!” moment? What sparked it?