August 30, 2014

Susan and the Fabulous, Awesome, Marvelous, Out-of-Sight, Unreal, Super Writing Year - by Susan Barclay

So I've been given a year to do nothing but write. Money is no object, nor is time or space. What would I do? Write, of course!!

Now you all know that there's more to writing than writing. Even with all those other considerations out of the way (money, time space), there are other things to do that are connected with the craft, but aren't actually writing. Research, for one.

First stop, Grand Canyon, where part of my novel is set, but where I've never actually been. Before going, I'd have to research the best time to be there, the best place to stay, what to see, who to connect with, etc. Then I'd follow through. And make lots of notes with lots of detail. Immediately on returning home, I'd revisit the relevant sections of my novel and add in the necessary elements. Once satisfied that all was polished to perfection, it would be time for the next phase of my writing year: finding an agent.

Finding an agent would also take research, using the Writers' Digest Guide to Literary Agents and word-of-mouth recommendations/suggestions. It would take some time to hook up with the right person, so while I was waiting, I'd work on more writing and submissions.

I already have some picture books ready to go, so I'd definitely work on submitting those. More waiting... More writing. Writing every day. Taking a writing class or two, attending conferences and workshops.

365 days would go by quickly. Too quickly, no doubt. And life would intervene along the way, as it is wont to do, and as others have pointed out well.

But it's my year, and I get to dream about it. Why not dream big and forget about obstacles?

P.S. Next year, I hope to make part of this dream come true by traveling to the Grand Canyon. If you've been there before, and have any input, I'd love to hear from you!

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  1. It's always helpful to have visited a place where your book's setting is. It gives you a good feel of what your character's senses should be experiencing. I hope you get to visit the Grand Canyon!

  2. I like your idea of dreaming big, Susan, and I like how you are working on one of your dreams that go with your novel--visiting the Grand Canyon. I hope this plan works out for you and you find the details you need to flesh out your novel. We'll be waiting. . .

  3. Waiting for the novel, of course!

  4. Love your exuberant year!

    I was at the Grand Canyon last May. We were in Vegas for a wedding. One thing I remember clearly is the spots where persistent plants insist on growing in the crags, rooted in nothing but dust that's blown in over the years.

    Another fun surprise is the occasional lizard that unexpectedly wanders across your path. Saw a few about 6" long.

    The new area where the Skywalk is located is being developed by the Native tribes who have come together and hired professionals to do the job. Most areas weren't bound by safety railings, so we were able to go right to the edges. Some people marched right up and put their toes over the edge of a rock. (That was my husband.) Others stayed back 50'. (Like my brother.) I saw a few couples where one would try to pull the other forward to look, and the second person was struggling to get away. Some people are terrified just knowing that drop is there. That could add an interesting element to a story.

    I have photos. If you want me to send some, let me know.

  5. I have yet to ponder finding an agent--I need to write more first. However, I'm thinking that finding an agent is kind of like finding your way through the Grand Canyon, but maybe I'm wrong because I just don't know.

    I've been to the Grand Canyon--immense and vast. I think you could easily spend a year there just meandering down to its depths and getting a feel for what life is really like. I didn't have "writer's eyes" when I went but you will--so soak it all in and enjoy God's creation.

  6. Hi Susan,
    Wow, that is wonderful that you are taking the first step in your writing dream and visiting the Grand Canyon. I've been there too and would like to revisit it as an adult. Grand is definitely a fitting word for it. All the best to you - keep on making those dreams come true!
    Pam Mytroen

  7. Thanks everyone! Sounds like you went to the West Rim, Bobbi. I'd likely be visiting the South (and possibly North). I may be picking your brain, though, closer to the time of my departure.


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