Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rainy Days and Mondays

I've had a week of cold, rainy days that all seem like Mondays. Spiced with broken refridgerators, fritzed washing machines, job interviews, school applications, two (active, unruly) boys to tutor, car-shopping, and the usual stuff at home.

Oh, did I forget completely rehauling a novel? And running out of chocolate?

I've had quite a week.

Thanks to a recent impulse to publish (yes, I get them once in a while) I've been tearing apart my Western, The Hanging Tree. Getting it ready to send out is proving to be incredibly challenging, not least because I have to cut 20,000 words and deciding which of my darlings to annihilate does give one the occasional pain. And it's scary to realize how much I don't know.

Currently, I'm halfway through and am convinced that if I ever see this story again it'll be way too soon.

However, I realize there is a silver lining: Three months ago, the mss of The Hanging Tree was as good as I could get it. Now, I can see flaws, cracks, and the occasional gaping hole. That means I've learned things in three months! I've improved. I've become a better writer.

Which is great.

But I still think I need chocolate. :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Only Editor Who Matters

Recently I had a "crisis moment" -- a point (caused by a very upsetting job search and a number of writing rejections) where I felt I couldn't go on. I was a failure anyway, so what was the point?

That night, my dad and I sat down together and he told me, "Nina, it doesn't matter to God what you do for a living. He doesn't care if you pick geraniums for the rest of your life. All that matters to Him is whether you do it with Him in your heart."

That set me back, made me think. I realized it's true. When we die, God isn't going to ask us whether we were successful in business. He doesn't care if we are rich or poor, famous or unknown.

When I die, He's not going to ask me if I made the New York Times Bestsellers List. He's not going to care if I am widely-published, moderately published, or not published at all.

What He's going to ask me is "Did you write with Me in your heart?"

How amazing is that. God's expectations of us are so unbelievably low. And so incredibly high.


Don't get me wrong: this insight didn't solve my problems. I still struggle every day with a sense of worth, wondering if this is where I'm really supposed to be. But when the darkness starts to close in and I don't know where to turn, I hear that shining voice of whispered thunder: "Am I in your heart?"

And then I remember Who I'm truly writing for.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Constructive Insanity: National Novel Writing Month!


For those who are wondering what on earth that is (like me last September) here's a link that sums it up:

As I'm warming up for this year's NaNo, I'm struck again by how many people think NaNo is silly scribbling by a bunch of people who only think they're writers. At best, a waste of time.

I'll admit it--I thought the same thing last September! Why was time and energy, quality and sanity, cramming 50,000 words into a measly 3o days?

But I did try it, and found to my surprise that it is indeed possible to write 50,000 words in a month! And it's a library full of fun. And one of the best 101 writing courses out there.

First, as is so often stated, the need to write shuts up that Evil Editor (not the blunt-but-helpful little guy but the wizened vulture with a sharpened pencil for poking). Which, if you're inclined to perfection, might just save your mind. (So, perhaps, the only way to save your sanity to is lose it for 30 days...)

Second, whether you make 50,000 or not (see paragraph 5) you will have written. A lot. You'll have something to show, something to tear and rip and edit, something to terrorize the relatives with at Christmas. Whatever you end up with, it's worth it.

And it's fun! There's something theraputic about going insane in tandem with several million people around the globe.

Personally, I can't wait for November.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Confessions of a Self-Confessed Blogger

Well, I've done it. Ascended (degenerated??) into the world of blogging. So far, it looks like fun!

I just want to state a few things quickly. First, the title of this blog is drawn (mostly) from my fascination with WWII.

Also, though, I believe all writers are front-line soldiers in the crazy world of writing and publishing! The generals in this battle make the New York Times Bestseller list, but that doesn't mean that each of us aren't fighting just as hard. (My current rank: Private.)

And as Christian writers, we are soldiers for Christ and our writing battle has a double meaning.

That said--on to the world of the blog!


I would like to thank all the people who helped me set this up, especially Alyosha and Kayla and all the folks on ChristianWriters for taking so much time to give me a hand! Many thanks, people!