I just spent an incredible week at a fiction writer’s workshop and I’m exhausted.Pen

See, I’ve been having some trouble plotting lately. No, not my nefarious plans for world domination, my novel. It’s not that I don’t have ideas for my plot; I have plenty. It’s that I don’t typically have a lot of confidence when to comes to those ideas. I get all caught up in my own head worrying that what I’ve laid out is uninteresting, or cliché, or weak, or inconsequential, or mundane, or lacks sufficient buoyancy to sustain an entire novel.

Yes, the age-old writer’s curse—self doubt—seems to have grabbed hold of my former amateurish confidence and choked it out like Royce Gracie on a championship night. I’ve been stuck. Floundering in a lack of self-confidence, I would stare blankly at my noble and approachable characters, unable to craft any tasks and challenges that I deemed worthy of them, or worse, of my potential readers.

So on a whim, I trekked to Iowa City for some writer’s respite and much-needed instruction from the “sages of the Foxhead.”

I went hoping that I would acquire some methods and tactics to eventually formulate a plot that could sustain a novel. Instead, I left with an actual sustained plot for my novel!

Granted, it’s a rough one, but when my incredible instructor helped me drop the last significant piece into place, the floodgates opened and a newfound clarity caused the rest of the story to flow out of me so quickly my fingers could barely keep up.

What started as a half-dozen key plot points quickly became a comprehensive outline, which then evolved into a full scene index with several dozen installments. By the end of the week I had all of my milestones laid out before me (well, most of them) and I couldn’t wait to start writing my way down that winding road.

Yes, it was a very rewarding, invigorating experience and for any writers out there, I highly recommend it. Much can be said about just the opportunity and environment: taking a week off to be away from work, home, life, and its responsibilities and dedicating that time instead to writing, thinking about writing, and surrounding yourself with writers who are doing the same. Cliché though it may be, it’s magical.

So with this renewed sense of purpose, and a wee bit of validation to bolster my confidence, I’ve got a roadmap for my newest literary project and frankly, I’m stoked about it.

Why am I telling you? The reasons are twofold.

First, I’m putting it out there to explain why you might not see many new postings in the months to come. I know this isn’t uncommon already, having had several single-post months in a row. But when it comes to larger works, I like to set deadlines for myself and remain accountable to them. I’m not saying I won’t be posting, but while I’ve got this positive charge I plan on dedicating as much energy as I can to this project. That means blogging may get bounced to the backseat for a while. Such is the call to arms.

Second, this blog may be taking a new tack, albeit temporarily. In an effort to remain accountable to myself, I may use this rambling space as a sort of journal of my progress. You may see entries pop up as I encounter this process, experience its setbacks, and hopefully revel in its successes. I’ll call these “Postcards,” of sorts, snapshots from my odyssey along the fiction writer’s road.

Rest assured, I won’t forget about you, my readers, or my petty ramblings (as I have new ones all the time). But since I’ve only got a little time to write each week, if I ever want to finish a novel, I’ve got to make it count.

Thanks for all the support (*cue an outpouring of writerly encouragement*)—I need it. Just because I’m charged doesn’t mean the writer’s curse won’t darken my door again someday.

I look forward to sharing this experience with all of you. Write on!

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