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February sucked the life out of me. March is breathing life back in.

Deep in editing my first chapter mode for the Genesis contest for the ACFW, I found little time for blogging, or much of anything else. With my first 15 pages and a one page synopsis of my book submitted and my youngest daughters 2nd birthday behind us, I feel room to breathe a little.  But let me get this straight: I have no hopes or aspirations of actually moving forward and ‘winning’ anything with the Genesis contest. I mean, of course I wanted to make it the best that I could, but my hope for the contest is simple to receive feedback. How can I make my work better? Of course, I am looking forward to the middle of April now on pins and needles . . .  there is at least a chance I can move to the semi-final round. Yeah, probably not, but a girl can dream.

In February, I also entered a giveaway from the very talented Julie Jarnagin, and won! I haven’t had a chance to read her books, Canyon Walls and  Canyon Crossing yet, but my Grandma has. According to her, they kept her gripped to the story and she couldn’t let go until she finished. After reading the first few pages, I can’t wait to have enough free time to indulge in pleasure reading again! As it is, I have stacks of research books I need to finish, and so many chapters to write for my own novel-in-progress.

Yesterday, I entered another contest at author Wendy Paine Miller’s blog. The challenge was to have the most correct guesses of popular book covers she and her daughter’s re-enacted. I guessed five of the eight correct, and won a critique on the first chapter of my WIP. Wahoo! I also now want to read all the books she highlighted with their beautiful covers, especially:  Into the Free, A Grown Up Kind of Pretty, The Tigers Wife, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

After deep in editing mode on my first chapter it has been difficult to get back to writing the middle of my book. My ‘muse’ ‘inspiration’ or whatever you want to call it is missing-in-action.  Perhaps it wouldn’t be so difficult to find if I would just plan out what I want to write before I write it. But I don’t. I’m a little bit of a ‘off the seat of my pants’ writer. I know where the story is going, and I know who my characters are – so I let that drive the scenes I write. I’m not exactly sure it’s working. I just don’t know that I have the patience to painstakingly outline each chapter and scene that I write. I love discovering what comes to me when I least expect it. Really, it’s part of why I love the writing process so much. However, sometimes nothing comes to me when I most desire it. I am close to finishing my WIP, nearing 80,000 words and only about 4 chapters with nothing written in them of my first draft. I may add more chapters later as I work on revisions – but then again, I may have to take some out as well. There’s a lot of work left to do still – but I feel like if I really sat down and focused on the book like I did back in November, I’d have the first draft finished in a week.

Now, if I can just find my inspiration around here somewhere . . .

When you write – how much do you rely on ‘inspiration’? Or do you have everything plotted out, down to the last shadow on the wall?