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I Accomplished Exciting Things at My Writers Retreat

I attended my semi-annual Women’s Getaway Writers Retreat last weekend. I love this block of four days devoted solely to writing and fellowship with other writers. I learn something new every time I attend. I also get a ton of work done. This time was the best yet.

First thing first, though. I wrote Saturday’s Ozarks Maven post and got it scheduled so I could concentrate on the big picture. I write three posts a week, and I usually complete them the day before they go live, even if I have them started well in advance. Therefore, I needed to write one while I was there.

Each post takes me between two and four hours to write, edit, find an appropriate photo, and decide which advertising links I’d like to use. I only want to link to things I support, so that usually takes longer than the actual writing. Today, I’m continuing with links to books by authors I know and respect, as well as some I’d love to meet.

Once Ozarks Maven was ready and scheduled, I prepared my space. I got myself a cup of steaming coffee and a tall glass iced herbal tea. Writing it thirsty work. I adjusted my seat cushion and covered up with my soft writing blanket. I took out my binder with all of my notes and set to work on my goal.

I went to the retreat with one lofty goal set for myself: get the edits on Legacy of Secrets finished. I received my editor’s feedback a few months ago, but every time I opened my book, I seemed to have a mental block. I found myself looking for excuses not to work on it. So, I decided to save it for the retreat.

To be honest, I was tired of my book and my characters were getting on my nerves. I’d been at it for far too long and was too close it. I needed to let it rest. I put it aside and worked on another project for a while. I’m happy to say that it is coming along nicely. However, Legacy of Secrets wouldn’t let me rest. It was in the back of my mind and insisting on attention.

Once I was set up at my writing table at the camp ground, which sits on a dirt road a good distance from everything but farms, I knew it was time. I opened the file and went through the book starting on the first page. If something bothered me, I highlighted it in blue so I could move on with the story and let those things stew in the back of my mind.

There were two scenes that really bothered me. I couldn’t get them out of my head and felt nearly nauseous every time I tried to work on them. I knew I had to face them head-on, so I promised myself that no matter what, I’d get them revised.

Of course, I left them for last because I really didn’t want to mess with them at all. They were bad, and I knew it. I just didn’t know what to do about it. I needed to get the book finished or it would continue to haunt me. So, I made myself a list. It looked like this.

Scale back love scene Rework wedding Add more description Complete corrections from editor

It’s not a long list and doesn’t look especially daunting. Looks can be deceiving, my friends. I took a five-page love scene and reduced to one page. I took a ten-page wedding and reduced it to six. I added more sensory details, and cut several pages that didn’t move my story along.

The reason all of this is so difficult is because the book is part of my soul. I spent five years of my life working on my novel off and on. I’ve had both dreams and nightmares about it. I loved it. Then I hated it. I was sure it would be a smashing success. Then I was sure no one would ever want to read it. Believe it or not, that’s typical of a writer.

I sent the book to my gamma reader for her input before I send it on to the next phase. I sent it knowing it may or may not be ready to send to the agent who requested it, but it’s a darn sight closer now than it was at this time last week.

I’m happy to report that my gamma reader got back to me with her input this morning. I’ll work on those two little things that she found tomorrow. I’ll give it one more read-through myself. If all goes well, I’ll have it winging through cyber space to the agent by the end of the week.

I’m both excited and terrified to submit my manuscript to the agent. She’s a perfectly nice lady, and I’m certain she won’t be mean to me. However, I’ve spend five years of my life working on something that comes from the depth of my soul, so it’s natural to be a little nervous.

Whether the agent and I choose to work together or I take a different path, I feel like I’ve accomplished a great feat in bringing my novel to this level. I feel more confident as a writer. I created something from nothing, and I’m darned proud of it.

I hope you are all healthy and happy in this crazy world. I hope you’re all stocked up on toilet paper and cleaning supplies. If your area is like mine, that stuff is nowhere to be found. Either way, be healthy and live well! Thank you for reading Ozarks Maven! If you’ve enjoyed my little seeds of wisdom and joy, please subscribe to Ozarks Maven, Like Ozarks Maven on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter @OzarksMaven.

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