Monday, August 07, 2006

JK: Getting Back to Writing

It seems this month I’m writing about “not writing.” I’m waiting for editorial suggestions. I’m doing interviews on the radio and at book groups and making presentations at bookstores. In my mind, I’m sorting through where the next book in the series will take me and the readers. But I’m not writing and it feels as though something is missing.

I am writing for the blog; I’ve provided my monthly essay for my own website; I’ve helped my nephew write a synopsis for his book he just finished (he’s nineteen years old and has already written this fabulous fantasy novel.) My work with Women Writing the West required some promotional writing about the WILLA Literary Awards we sponsor. I’ve written several thank you notes to bookstores. I write brief notes back to visitors to my website if they’ve left their email addresses. This week I wrote responses to requests for retreats, presentations, etc. But none of that writing feels the way I do when I’ve spent the day, well, writing.

Maybe the difference is that when I’m working on a manuscript, I get lost within it. I feel as though I’m praying almost, that my life is where it is meant to be. As Madeleine L’Engle wrote in Walking on Water, when we writers create, we co-create: we create with Spirit and with readers. Maybe it’s the preparation I do before working on a manuscript. I try to calm myself and leave the demands of my everyday life behind. I tell myself that God is in control and believe it. I read the writer’s prayer written by Barry Longyear that I cut out of Writer’s Digest and concentrate on a particular line before I begin to write. “Help me enter and live my story” is one I really like. I’ll be so engaged in my character facing a blinding snow storm that I’m surprised when two hours later my husband steps into my office and he’s sweating because the air conditioner isn’t working and it’s 110 degrees out side. I hope that the satisfaction I receive from having written is mostly because I’m telling the stories I’ve been given the best way I know how and trusting that I’m not alone in the telling. I pray for that for each of you as well. Oh, there’s my editor’s email! Now I can get back to writing.

Jane Kirkpatrick,, who just learned that her book A Land of Sheltered Promise was a Spur Award Finalist for Best Novel of the West (Western Writers of America) and a Golden Quill Finalist for Best Inspirational novel in the Desert Rose Phoenix chapter of Romance Writers of America.


At 8:45 AM, Blogger Lori Benton said...

Congratulations, Jane! And while you've been out and about, it was a pleasure to meet you at the Medford book signing, last month.

I'll have to look for that writer's prayer. Sounds like it articulate's my heart as well.

Lori Benton

At 9:58 AM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

Great post, Jane.

“Help me enter and live my story” -- a writer's prayer, you said.

I love that line.

Reminds me of a prayer I often pray. "Lord, help me to crawl into my characters' skin and feel what they're feeling."

At 9:16 PM, Blogger Patricia Hickman said...

So thoughtful, Jane. I also have one from Lawrence Block. It's a prayer excerpted from his book Telling Lies For Fun and Profit.


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