Recently I sent a manuscript I had been working on during COVID-19 and the stay-at-home order to my most trusted reader Cathy Gust. During the writing process I felt like I had a good story to tell, and an interesting main character that children will find relatable.
The story wasn’t complete, it was definitely in the early stages, but I wanted feedback to see if I was on the right path. I felt like the idea of the story was great, but something was off — well, I was right. Cathy came back with some insightful and honest commentary that made me realize the book was too sad to be a children’s book. Not realizing it during the time, my feelings of uncertainty about the current state of the world had made its way onto the page. So, I started rewriting the story and changing the tone, all the while still trying to tackle another obstacle children face as they grow up. It didn’t work. I couldn’t get the story to flow. I ended up putting it on the back burner, and started typing another story idea that had been brewing instead.
This new story flowed onto the page and after months of trying to push a story that wasn’t working, this felt natural and really good. I told my husband, “My creative juices are overflowing!” as the words came together on the page. Of course, not everything I typed was perfect or even close to it, but I felt a sense of energy and excitement that I haven’t felt for a while as I began a new journey with my main character.
After a few hours of uninterrupted writing, immersing myself in a different world, I have one-third of a very rough draft of a story I am eager to continue and see where it leads. The energy and excitement around this new manuscript is keeping me up at night scribbling ideas on a pad beside my bed. The writing process can be very hot or cold. And even when you think it’s hot and a story is coming together, looking back, it might not be the story you want to tell.
With that said, my COVID-19 script will stay on the shelf until I can come back, revise it, and create the story that is in my head in a voice I want children to connect to. Until then, I am changing course and throwing all of my energy into this new project because it feels like the right path for me at this time. It just goes to show, even as I pursue this writing career, I need to be flexible and listen to my inner voice because it might be leading me to something truly amazing. I encourage all of you to readjust, and be flexible as you follow your own dreams.