It Takes a Village

           For me, writing this book has been a balancing act.  On the one hand it is a dynamic, creative process that flows through my life like a river.  Ideas come to me in the shower, while I’m driving my car, cooking supper, doing dishes, playing with my kids, or on a walk.  Sometimes I dash to the computer and type them in if I’m close to the house.  Other times I’m scribbling on whatever I can find—a grocery receipt, a Kleenex, the palm of my hand.  I understand why ancient Greeks included the concept of Muses in their mythology, because I am assailed—or blessed—quite often by wild creative energy that seems to have a will of its own.  I have come to understand this as a gift from God, and my job as a writer to bend myself to His will as He provides the ideas as well as the power to express them.

            On the other hand is a much less mystical side of writing.  Right-brained folks like me don’t like this side near as much.  It involves the practical logistics of getting a story told in an acceptable way in a certain amount of time.  In terms of  this book, Love Finds You in Romeo, Colorado, that means eighty-thousand words in four months, give or take a few words, while maintaining a family of five, a few other part-time jobs, and some semblance of personal sanity.  For me, that takes an incredible amount of discipline, and support from my “tribe,” or extended family.

            When I got this contract, after a brief celebration, my sister-in-law set me down at her dining room table.  She made a chart of how many weeks it was till the deadline and how many pages I had to write each week in order to reach it (Did I mention she’s a left-brainer?).  Then she wrote the names of herself, my mother, and my husband on the calendar, alternating every other day for childcare beginning that week and lasting till the deadline (they had all already committed to this arrangement in the event my proposal was selected).  With their help, I write about three days a week, for eight to ten hours a day.  If I don’t get the amount of pages I need, I make it up at night when my kids are in bed.

            In addition to this, I have three readers who read every word I write and give me feedback on my days “off.”  The list of people who have helped me with setting, plot, characters–and details I’d never be able to assemble on my own in this amount of time–is already long, and keeps growing.  By the time this is over, I’m sure I’ll have enough names on it to populate a small town.  I’m learning if you’re a mother of little children on a limited budget—and probably even if you’re not–it takes a village to write a book.

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7 Responses to It Takes a Village

  1. Pam Hillman says:

    Great post, Gwen. It’s wonderful that your family is helping you out with daycare. Can’t wait to read the first copies of Last Chance books as they roll off the presses.

    Are there any covers available yet? Would love to see those as well!

  2. Bryan Riley says:

    You will have to remind me of this when I have my chance to sit and do the same thing, Gwen. I identify with your less-organized perspective on things and will struggle a bit to stay on task with such a project.

    It’s fun to find your blog. We look forward to seeing you all more!!!!

  3. Gwen Faulkenberry says:

    Dear Pam,

    You can view the covers at http://www.stl-distribution.com in the Romance category.

    Warmly,
    Gwen

  4. Irene Brand says:

    Gwen, you are a busy woman. I’m organized, too, but I don’t have to deal with a large, active family. My husband and I live alone, and I don’t think I could work around your schedule. Best wishes as you write, and prayers, too.

  5. Marsha says:

    Dear Gwen,

    What an exciting journey. I am sure there will be many twists, turns and unexpected adventures on your personal journey in writing this book. It won’t be easy with all the responsibilities you have at this time in your life, but it is good to hear how God is providing through your family and your sweet sister-in-law. The body of Christ surrounding, supporting and loving one another is a beautiful thing; it is the way life was intended.

    I pray many blessings come your way as the river of creativity flows through you and onto the pages of Love Finds You in Romeo, Colorado. All the experiences you have along the way will enrich the story even more.

    It is exciting to be part of the process, even if just to pray for you from afar and follow your journey through your blog.

    We are cheering you on each step of the way!

  6. Debby Mayne says:

    You’re blessed to have such a nice, helpful family. With your enthusiasm, I have no doubt your book will be wonderful!

  7. Loree Lough says:

    I haven’t yet had a chance(YET) to read every Summerside authors’ books, I’ll make the logical leap of faith and say I’m certain they’re all talented authors whose stories are sure to consistently give readers the entertaining, inspiring reads they’re looking for.

    I’m chompin’ at the bit to get my hands on the first books of every terrific gal in the Summerside Sisterhood, so hurry up, Gwen!

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