Friday, 26 March 2010

And then a miracle occurs

bright, sunny skies - temps minus 10

Yikes - minus 10! I have long underwear on again! And thermal socks. I would have worn the big parka to take Trudy around the pond this morning except it was skunked and is now banished to the porch. Not certain what that will do.

One of my favorite cartoons shows two scientists. The older one is reviewing the younger ones work. There are formulae on one side of the chalk board, a gap, then formulae on the other. And in the gap is written, "And then a miracle occurs". The older scientist says, 'I think you need to be more specific.'

I often feel like that in my life. Either a miracle had occurred - like falling in love, or being published - or I think maybe one will the coat, by dint of being left outside, will suddenly be de-skunked.

when people ask how I got published I honestly have difficulty answering them. I mean, I know how it happened, the steps I took. Sending in endless letters to agents and publishers. Getting rejections, or more often just silence. Trying and trying. Editing, editing, re-writing. And finally entering the CWA Best Unpublished Mystery novel contest in the UK, and being shortlisted.

That was the break. But lots of better writers have done exactly that and haven't yet found a publisher.

when emerging writers ask that question I know how they're feeling. Like there's a magic formula...and then a miracle occurs.

And, honestly, that's pretty much how it felt. How do you ever explain success, when better people who work harder don't seem to find it?

I take some comfort in believing everything happens for a reason. And there's a reason all this happened to me at 50 and not 25. I know how lucky I am. I know a miracle when one happens.

difficult day writing. Lots of fear. Fear this book is crap. Fear I can't do it. Fear I'll give up. But I plowed along and worked and worked and erased and erased. Very frustrating erasing a thousand words because the scene just ins't going anywhere. And then - finally - I got it. I knew exactly what the scene needed to be about.

Some days are easy. I've been lucky so far with this book. A great deal of it has just poured out. But not the last few days. They've been a struggle. But best to keep plugging. And eventually, something will hit.

We're off to Montreal. Michael, bless his soul, stayed up late doing the them finished. so we'll do that while in Montreal too. Tony is here to pick up all the dog poop that has appeared on the lawn.

Talk about a miracle! That it magically appears, but even more, that Tony is willing to make it disappear.

Had a huge amount of fun speaking to the the Lakeridge Book Club in Florida last night. wish I'd been there in person.

Did I mention it's MINUS 10???


Dana said...

Dear Louise,
Thank you for the early post. It caught me at just the right time! I think we all have miracles in our lives and the trick is to recognize them. And sometimes, we are the miracle! Your books have been little miracles for me. Your characters, I am sure, are my friends and no doubt when I am bonkers I will remember them as real. Better than the A. Huxley characters my mother thought were real!

Susan Fish said...

Bon courage!

Cara Mia said...

It's good to know that even established authors face self-doubt about their work. You are an inspiration!

Darlene said...

Gee, maybe it's a necessary way for the brain to find its way around the storyline? Does each book take about the same amount of time to draft or is each different? I think you're amazing the way you can write a thousand or more words every day. Hang in there!

whalewatcher said...

I too think everything happens for a reason and I do believe in miracles. As to fear.....
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the
judgement that something else is more important"
Ambrose Redmon
Stay warm,

Diane said...

Your blog, as usual, is inspiring. Ah, there's the rub - going on despite our ongoing fears and anxities.

So glad you continue on, where would the world be without Gamache et al? For sure there would be less inspiraton, hope and beauty in the writing world.


Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all,

Thank you for being so supportive. Each book is different, and some have caused way more anxiety than others. I think what happens is that when the book is edited and smoothed and shaped and where it should be, I forget the misery. or at least, it feels less miserable.

Today, for instance, started out difficult...hard to settle down. But once I did, and worked over the pages - and started on new scenes - well I forgot how awful it felt before.

I'll tell you, "good" feels better for coming through "bad". And when the writing is bad - well it colours the whole day. Wish it didn't, but it does.

thanks for caring! And your lovely words.