Forge ahead

Back in February, my husband and I were sitting around after dinner one night, poking around on our phones. I hate defaulting to phone use — especially at a time that’s prime for talking with the kids and catching up on the day’s events. But this night, for probably a variety of reasons, the kids were elsewhere and I was probably way behind in my Words with Friends games. Eventually, I found myself scrolling through a writing-related Facebook page, 10 Minute Novelists, and found the Buddy Tuesday post. This is an open forum where writers can find a critique partner, beta readers or general help with any works in progress. I’d read through the posts before, but never felt compelled to post or respond.

Until that night.

That was the night I stumbled upon a post from a fellow writer who was in the market for … something… she wasn’t quite sure what though. Anna’s post caught my eye because that’s exactly what I would’ve posted. I responded to her message and, after an introductory phone call, we became critique partners. For the past five months, every couple of weeks we swapped pages, read and then spent about an hour on the phone talking through characters, plot points, challenges, etc. It’s been terrific — having a 1×1 sounding board is amazingly helpful.

Over the last few weeks Anna and I have revisited outlining, structure and story lines. When we spoke today, we discovered we’d both completely revamped our stories. We wrapped up our phone call today, setting a time to chat again at the end of the week, wherever we might be with our respective stories. At one point, one of us used the phrase “forge ahead,” and it seemed to resonate.

Forging ahead took on an entirely new meaning, given the new direction things are taking. When I say that I’ve been restructuring my current work in progress, I mean it in every sense of the word. I’d been grasping onto story idea that was mapped out at least 15 years ago, despite it just not feeling… right. These characters have lived in my head a long time, and I was dead-set on making things work. But, as in life sometimes, sometimes things just don’t work out. They can’t work out — for whatever reasons. And rather than forcing it, you have to let go.

So I did.

I let go of all the old material that wasn’t working, and created an entirely new direction. It’s exciting and a little scary, but it just feels like things are coming together in a good way.

And even though I may not have all the things figured out, I need to have faith and forge ahead.

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