Yearend reviews are piling up on the media landscape like so many snow drifts on the highway to Fargo South Dakota. I find, assessing this past year, I have to separate the writer from the average person. I am all that I am as a person in this modern world and so there’s confusion between the writer and the weekend athlete, father/husband, employee and concerned American citizen.
Sticking to the writing side of my life, the year was challenging, and to a large extent quite good. I have tried to keep to a schedule of publishing a book a year, and have kept to that since 2013. I published ALGONQUIN in 2013; SISTERS’ SECRET in 2014; and KEEPER OF AN ORDINARY in 2015. I thought KEEPER OF AN ORDINARY was a one-off, but the way it ended I realized there was more to the story. I liked the characters and could clearly see more happening to them on the heels of the first book. In the late fall of 2015 I started on the sequel for KEEPER OF AN ORDINARY with the goal of publishing in 2016.
The story took care of itself, and unfolded in different and interesting ways. Looking back now, I spent a year happily outlining, researching and drafting the sequel. I workshopped the early chapters with a Wednesday group that I had been a member of for a couple of years. Due to scheduling conflicts and other situations I was forced to change to a Friday Novels-Only group. Both workshops were very helpful. I am a strong proponent of writers participating in workshops or critique groups. It has been for me nothing but beneficial. The Friday group are only writers working on novels and they are talented and very good at critiquing the long form of writing. I was challenged. And I needed it.
The second KEEPER OF AN ORDINARY is now known as KEEPER OF AN ORDINARY-A Qualified Immunity, and I "finished” the first draft in mid-November. I am now rewriting, and polishing and adding or subtracting things here and there. I have a trusted reader, editor, confidante who is reading and correcting at this time. I have also had my brother in law read the draft and he provided valuable comments on weak areas.
So my string of a book a year will be broken. I can live with that. I am quite pleased with this novel. I feel I am writing better and the book will be better than the original. Improving with each project is very pleasing. Look for KEEPER OF AN ORDINARY-A Qualified Immunity in the spring 2017.
I have become more involved with the Nebraska Writers Guild this year as well. I make it a point to attend at least one writers’ conference a year. Last year I went to Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Fall Conference and was quite impressed by the program they put on. I got involved with Nebraska Writers Guild with the intention to work for making the Guild more visible in the state and help to have more programs and seminars and retreats. Nebraska is celebrating 150 years of statehood in 2017 and I thought the Guild should hold author fairs and seminars in unusual locations throughout the state. Well, I will be one of the project coordinators for Six Corners of Nebraska in 2017. We are working on this at the present time.
Along with workshops I sincerely believe writers should get out and read or be visible every opportunity that presents itself. This last year I participated in Guild booths at the state fair, the state library conference and author fairs in York and Columbus, Nebraska.
My journey may be very different from yours. So, though other aspects of the year were disappointing, I have to say on the writer side things went pretty well. Times spent writing are more fulfilling than times spent not writing. I hope your year was as rewarding.