Self Portrait: Inside a Writer’s Mind

She was short, plump, with blonded hair, a few spots telling her age, and laugh lines, her ready smile.  Her eyes sparkled with every new idea and softened with love as she thought of her new granddaughter and expected grandson.  Whenever she mentioned “her” husband of 42 years marriage, her voice warmed and her smile widened.  On the surface she was a happy woman.

But underneath the loving-life persona lurked questions and doubt.  Was there not more to life?  She understood the lyric, “Is that all there is?” and continually looked for new fulfillment.  She swam, walked, biked for a healthy heart.  She read, read, and read some more for her mind.  Ideas excited her, especially those which came unbidden as she thought about what she was reading.  And then she expanded to writing.

Her first book was for her husband and two grown children, the self-published account of her childhood, growing up in a loving family of thirteen children on a farm in Oxford County.  She inserted pictures, each one a song of her childhood.  Her children were entranced.

Then she wrote a similar book of her love affair with her husband and their joy in raising their boy and girl.  Again pictures prompted memories and she laughed and cried as she composed at the computer.  Another popular, self-published volume.

Her thirty-something son challenged her to write:  “Mom, you’re sixty years old, in perfect health, with lots of writing skills.  If you don’t write that novel now, when will you?”  And so she started.  And she wrote.  She wrote of history, and love, of war and death, of babies and heartache.  She wrote a novel of over 100,000 words.

Now she is stuck in a rewrite funk, trying to decide how best to bring this baby to its birth day.  And she has put it aside for a few weeks while her life smooths out again and she regains the strength and, yes, the fortitude to persist.

And so I am here.

The above is the bio I wrote for our inaugural writers’ group meeting three years ago.  Well, they loved it, we met for two years, disbanded, and I moved on.  Various other writing experiences have moved me closer to my goal.  This blog’s purpose is to record my journey and I quite like the discipline of writing posts twice a week.  Most importantly, I love the dialogue in the comments, both here and on LinkedIn.  Thank you, commenters all! (And pardon the extra picture!)


13 thoughts on “Self Portrait: Inside a Writer’s Mind

  1. We all take different roads on this journey. A bit like the structure of fiction, we begin with our ordinary world, and when the call to adventure comes, we pack our pencils, or laptop, and head out, hoping to return with the elixir: publication.


  2. The imprtant thing is to remember to pick your novel back up. If you decide not to, open a fresh page and start somthing new.

    A blank page can sometimes be extremely exciting, and bring you to places you’ve never dreamed of.

    Good luck!


  3. Lovely post, Elaine. I’m in final edit stage (I hope) for a couple of books. One I wanted to e-mail to someone to get his opinion only to find out it is too large for my server to handle so it went nowhere. I hope that’s not prophetic about the book itself! This one I will self-publish. The other I now have to write a query letter for good enough to knock the socks off the editor (hope his feet don’t smell). 🙂 I’m seriously considering putting my novel on CreateSpace, too, but will decide that later. One at a time, please.


  4. Love the mood to this post. Very nice peak into your world, Elaine. And I’m thinking there is another chapter to this story: when you start writing novel number two! What a lovely way to introduce your voice. 🙂


    • Thanks for taking the time to comment, Jessica, when I know this is a momentous weekend for you. Hope all is going well with Little Red Riding Wolf’s launch! I especially appreciate your words in this comment. You are the best!


  5. Hi Elaine,
    What a wonderful post and I enjoyed it, related to it and understand what you are saying. Four years ago, one of my sisters asked me why I hadn’t written my book yet. I laughed at her but her question reopened a closet in my heart that I had closed long ago. I still didn’t do anything big though, but I started a blog and began to write encouragement to a group of soldiers that were stationed in Iraq, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
    Two yeas ago, my husband and I were visiting two of my old school friends who were married to each other. We had had some great times together at the university. Sitting with them at the breakfast table, her husband asked me, “Patricia, I want to know why you are not writing books.”
    My heart leap for joy at his question and believe me when I say that I sat there literally shocked at the increase pulse that I had as I let his question sink in to the core of me.
    Flying back home, I knew his question had challenged me to come out of hiding and to begin writing.
    It is a strange feeling because when I write, I forget everything around me. Having found my voice , my style , I want to reach out to people, through my writing.
    So, I encourage you to walk through your rewrite funk, one day at a time and just let it happen. Don’t force it. If you continue through this rewrite funk, taking it as it is, you will find your peace and with your peace will come the ideas that you need as to how you want to bring your baby on the market.
    I know because I am in that same stage and as I write to you, I am experencing the fact that doors are opening.
    Stay with it, Lady. You are a champion and we chanpions never, never, never give up.


  6. Patricia, I read your response on my iPad while still in bed this morning and it was a wonderful way to wake up. I am very thankful for your kind words and think you show the number one use to writers of the Internet. We can find others like us out there and alternately lean on and prop up those precious people. That being said, I wrote that piece about three years ago and republished it for this post, so I was writing about an earlier time. Funny, though, my thoughts do flit from exhilaration to despair on this writing road. Luckily, most of the time I am happy to lock myself in my room and do the work. Thanks again, Patricia!


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