Writing About On Writing

So I figured I mentioned Stephen King and his wonderful memoir/writing book enough that I should expound on it in a post.  So this post is about On Writing and what I gained by reading it.

First things first is that I had a click about what to write.  He talks about how often times people try to write what they think is good or popular but is not what they actually like.  For Stephen, he is a really good writer and he really likes the horror genre.  Critics often questioned why he used his talent to write some of the stuff he did and the answer was that he enjoyed it and it came easily.  You could argue that that is why it was so well-received by the public.  When I think back on the books I’ve loved over the years they include some magic and fantasy intertwined with reality.  The Harry Potter Series and The Time Traveler’s Wife were my absolute favorites.  That is the sort of thing I am writing now (well was writing till I came to that screeching halt..more on that in a bit) and is basically what my last book was.  So despite the fact that the stuff I write and like is not the stuff the members of my writing group are drawn to, it is most definitely the right thing for me.

The next piece of advice I got and found that it confirmed what my gut had been telling me all along was this:  “First write with the door closed, then write with it open.”  I’m not sure if the quote is exactly right but the gist is when you are working on a first draft show it to no one until it is finished.   If you show your work to people as you go you may get good feedback which will cause you to get ahead of yourself and start planning the future of the book instead of just writing it.  If you get bad feedback you may get discouraged and come to a screeching halt.  I knew exactly what he was talking about because I made this mistake.  I started writing my novel and chapter by chapter started sharing it with others, friends and my writing group.  I got some great feedback that got those wheels turning and stars clouding my vision.  I got some bad feedback that made me want to cry and tear the whole thing up.  The whole time my inner voice kept telling me to STOP sharing it.  I didn’t.  Ultimately I ran out of steam.  The balloon of excitement that contained the book deflated little by little until I found myself no longer writing it.

Which I guess brings me to the last bit of advice which is that quote I featured last Sunday.  “If God gives you something you can do, why in God’s name wouldn’t you do it?”  I don’t think I’m a great writer, in fact I still struggle with even calling myself a writer at all.  For me that phrase (I am a writer)  is more like an affirmation…something I say until it becomes true.   But I do know that I’ve always loved putting words together and sharing them with people.  I know that I feel a little more alive when I write something that moves someone in some way.  For many years (about 11 I think)  I didn’t write.  God had given me something I could do and I didn’t do it.  For three years though, I’ve been doing it.  I’d like to do it more.  The only reason I’m excited to see Callee go off to kindergarten next year is the promise of 3 or more good hours a day of uninterrupted writing time.  I think it will be my heaven or at least my salvation.

The book was filled with great advice and fascinating stories about Stephen’s life.  If definitely made me feel better about my own writing.  I don’t yet have the hours in my schedule that he suggests putting in (3-6 per day) but I will do what I can and hopefully embrace those hours when they arrive.    Thank you, Stephen King, for your wonderful book.

RowdyJRT’s Click

RowdyJRT found me and my blog through Twitter.  She commented on a post and sent me the following click story.  I really enjoyed reading her story and it speaks to the idea of “when God closes a door, he opens a window.”  (Or however that goes.)  You can follow RowdyJRT on Twitter here and visit her website filled with cute products honoring her furry friend here.

I always enjoyed the thoughts of being a Grandmother, never once did I associate the idea as being old.  I never pictured it to be as dysfunctional as it has been for me.  It wasn’t the story book tale that I always pictured it to be.

My first Grandchild was born in Sept 2004, we didn’t know about her until March 2005.  In fact we didn’t even know her Mother as it was just a one night fling between our son and this girl.  I didn’t get to bond with her as most Grandparents get to experience.  Her Mother kept her away from us, claiming she just couldn’t be separated from the child. I could understand her Mother’s point, especially since we lived 2 hours away from her. I know I wouldn’t have been able to send my own child that far from home, and that is what kept me from harboring a lot of resentment.

I still felt robbed because I didn’t get to experience the “hey Mom I’m going to be a Daddy” and follow the pregnancy until birth.  That feeling of being robbed continued for the next 5 years, always being told that our G-Daughter would be allowed to come for a visit only to have the Mother back out.  It was always one let down after another.  I finally just stopped communicating with the Mother and figured if it was meant to be we would have the child in our lives at some point.

I remained out of the picture from March 2008 until April 2010.  Her Mom emailed me and said that she now realized it was wrong to keep her away from this side of her family and that it wasn’t fair to any of us.  We arranged a date for her visit, Easter weekend.  Finally, at long last I was going to get to enjoy my sweet little Granddaughter.  I started thinking it wouldn’t happen and that it was just a repeat of all the other times that she changed her mind.  However, much to my surprise they actually brought her here.  She climbed out of the vehicle with 2 backpacks full of clothes, toys etc.  It was so funny watching her drag them across the drive and up the steps. The excitement on her face will remain engraved in my mind forever.   As I had mentioned, the last time she was here was in 2008 and it was a few hours, she was just 3 yrs old at the time.  I was very surprised that she remembered us, as well as our home. but she is one smart cookie.  Plus I’m sure God had worked his magic on her so that she wouldn’t forget us.

Finally, after 5 long years, she was mine to love on, to play House with and most of all start our bonding process.  She didn’t cry after her Mom, it was as if she had been coming here all her life, I know God had a hand in it all.  She was here for the entire weekend, the first night she kept me up until 3 am and although I was super tired and having a Lupus Flare, I didn’t regret a moment of it.  When sleep finally came I cuddled up to her the entire night, every so often waking up to check on her.  I would then lay there thinking how wonderful this was,  yet still in a semi state of shock that it was really happening.  I thought perhaps I was just dreaming about her and none of this was real, but when I laid my hand on her little chest and felt her heart beating I knew it was real.  Oh and does that child ever SNORE, that right there should have been enough to tell me it was real 🙂

As for her Daddy, my youngest son.  He has been in and out of the picture since she was born.  He managed to get into enough trouble and ended up in prison.  She will be 7 before he is released.  I have a picture of her and my son on my monitors desktop.  It was from her last visit here in 2008, she saw the picture and said I know him, he is my Daddy, again more of Gods wonderful work.

When school is out she will be coming here to stay a week at a time on a monthly basis.  I’m looking forward to these longer visits with her.  I’ve started  a “what we will do list” so I can keep us busy.  On that list is quite a bit of baking so I expect both of us to gain 10 pounds per visit.

I really wasn’t completely robbed of being a Grandmother, I do have 2 other Grandchildren, both boys, from my oldest son. I got to experience the “we are pregnant” and followed both pregnancies through birth.  It was exciting to be there for the birth of my Grandsons.  The boys are 1 year and 3 days apart in age.  The youngest one came as a huge surprise to all of us.  My son and his wife were already having financial problems and a second child, although a blessing, made their matters worse.  I kept their youngest baby for 8 months so they could get back on their feet.

I was lost when he went back home. Letting him go home was probably one of the hardest things I could ever do, but I knew at some point it was going to happen. I had him 1/2 his life, I got to see all the “firsts” the teething, crawling and those wonderful first steps.  My world as I knew it was rocked.  I had nothing to manage my time, other than my fur-kid, a spoiled Jack Russell. Again I felt as though I had been robbed. I wondered why being a Grandmother had to be so dysfunctional.  I sank into a very deep depression, started feeling sorry for myself.  I thought life was over for me and all that stress allowed the Lupus flares to take control of me.  Not once did I ask God to help me through my difficult time.  I guess I just forgot about God and let the Devil control my issues.

I only mentioned my Grandsons because the little girl came back into my life when I was at my lowest.  It was just a few days after my Grandson went home that my Granddaughters Mother emailed me.  She asked if I wanted to start having my Granddaughter on weekends.  It was God’s miracles at work, he didn’t wait for me to ask him.  That is how God works, he takes on our problems, he is always working in the background, even if we forget to ask him to help us.