The Ebb & Flow of the Writing Life

Beauty Berry - Bruce Witzel photo  (1)

The most challenging part of my life as a full-time writer is the week after a book launches out into the world. I have done everything within my power to make it the best book possible; I have pulled my hair out getting formatting details just right; I have carefully planned a few targeted promotions; I have blogged, updated Facebook and tweeted on a regular basis.

That’s all I’ve got, folks. I can’t think of anything else to do. Maelstrom is now on its own, swimming in the vast Amazon sea. Here’s hoping it can paddle its way to an island with a high hill, scramble up to the top and wave wildly to be noticed by the reading public. While I may lack objectivity, I do think those who give Maelstrom a chance will enjoy the fast-paced story.

Fall colours - Bruce Witzel photo  (1)

Meanwhile, my life goes on. Fall is making its presence felt in our evergreen world. The apple, pear and Mountain Ash trees are all decked out in yellow splendour. The nights are getting colder and except for those days when the sun shines bright for an hour or two in the afternoon, we are less inclined to run around outside in T-shirts.

Late Cosmos - Guenette photoAnd yet, I can still find a garden treasure or two if I really look. The odd, brave flower brightens the barren beds. Though most plants are showing those distinct signs of decay, destined for pruning back or uprooting to a new location in the ever-growing compost pile, I’ve got a few hardy peppers still growing in a cold frame. Celery and celeriac root poke out of the ground and will soon find their way into soup to warm these chillier days. There will be a few more meals of beets – luscious, round and the deepest red.

Purple haze - Bruce Witzel photo

The fourth novel in the Crater Lake Series beckons to me from the storyboard. A growing file of notes clutter my planning file – storylines, character sketches, location descriptions and bits of dialogue. Exciting … yet something holds me back. I’m not yet ready to plunge in for that deepest of first draft dives.

St. Francis - Bruce Witzel photo  (1)

I’m like the garden going fallow for a time. I need to ponder and think, walk the trails and let my mind wander ahead of me onto paths unknown, territory uncharted. I feel the need to have story ideas turn and turn through my mind as if I sat bent over a spinning wheel with heaps of wool at my feet and the task of spinning it all into the finest yarn.

Winding Trail - Bruce Witzel photo

There is an ebb and flow to the writing life – a time to churn out words in creative frenzy and a time to rest and let the creative spirit rejuvenate. Let me honour both ends of the spectrum.

Mushrooms - Bruce Witzel photo

21 comments on “The Ebb & Flow of the Writing Life

  1. Jet Eliot says:

    When you have done everything you could, you are ready for the next step. Best wishes and congratulations Francis~~

  2. diannegray says:

    There certainly is an ebb and flow to the writing life, Francis. It’s time now to sit back, enjoy the garden and let those creative spirits rejuvenate 🙂

  3. smilecalm says:

    wonderful realizing
    you are in touch with
    the beauty all around
    with a full head of hair 🙂

  4. Your photographs are beautiful, Fran. I’ve feel completely rejuvenated. 🙂

  5. Oliana says:

    Wise words. I felt I was on this journey of being in the moment and respecting your muse to refuel

  6. Your words are a perfect summary of the writing/editing/publishing/promotion process and how we need that cycle of extreme creativity followed by fallow periods to regroup and rejuvenate. All the best for your present life of resting up and soaking in inspiration so the cycle may begin again.

    In my case, a move to another part of the country and my increasing care-giving responsibilities have extended this fallow period. After a seven-month stretch of change, I’m finally diving back into the creative editing and re-writing process on our next book. Here’s hoping there will be sufficient time and energy for the creative juices to flow and flourish.

    • Best of luck, Gayle, as you dive back into the process of getting that next book out 🙂 I appreciate your interest in my post, your comment and your well wishes. And the very best of birthday wishes 🙂

  7. MariHoward says:

    Enjoyed this post and can relate! Love your fall photos too. Am just emerging onto the keyboard with novel no. 3 in what is definitely the Mullins Family Saga now, having got to 2 published and 3 in my head! Must bestir myself to actually get hold of Maelstrom, which looks to be going to be an interesting read!

    • Great to hear you are carrying another Mullins’ family saga in your head. I look forward to the read. Glad you enjoyed the post and could relate and I hope you do give Maelstrom a try – it’s an interesting read for how it all came together as well as the actual story.

  8. jackiemallon says:

    Pondering and thinking is a precious piece of the process. Dive right into it. I tend to think I’ve wasted time when I’m actually chewing on a problem and I remind myself that it’s all for the advancement of the cause. Fall, just-published, eyes on next project… Enjoy this time of betweenness 🙂

    • Many thanks, Jackie. I will attempt to go with the flow of down time. Breaking the bank right now with downloading book after book on my Kindle – when I’m not writing, I am reading!

  9. Gwen Stephens says:

    Beautiful post, Fran, both in words and in pictures. I was excited to receive your email about your latest release, and am adding it to my Christmas shopping list. Congratulations on launching yet another work into the world!

    • Thanks, Gwen. This one is so different from my other books – it really feels like pitching my baby to the curb and waiting to see if anyone cares. Not easy – this writing thing!

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