Currently, I'm writing a story for A Cup of Comfort for the Grieving Heart. With plenty of personal experience, reams of notes, and 2 years walking through this time of mourning, the story seemed ripe. I prayed God would give me direction and help me sort and sift out what didn't belong in this particular piece. Part of this process included reading and re-reading the publisher's guidelines.
The first version tore me up on the inside. I wrote full steam ahead for a hour, and virtually collapsed. The piece emphasized too much pain and not enough hope. Version 2 came closer to hitting the mark, but didn't quite achieve the take-away element. At this point, frustration reared its ugly head. Should I put this project aside? Maybe I was wrong about the timing. Again, I brought it before the Lord, asking for direction.
My prayers were answered in an unexpected way. Several blog posts caught my attention at the time I was grappling with this story. The problem didn't originate in the piece, but in my lack of understanding about the creative process. As I read, it dawned on me how I'd often stumbled through these phases without realizing I was following a pattern. With my newfound knowledge, I could flow with these principles and defuse the negative self-talk when the writing appeared to be stalled. You can read Kristy Holl's posts for yourself at http://writers-first-aid.blogspot.com Check out posts dated August 22 - September 5, 2008.
Version 3 is written, ready for my writers' group to critique, and close to the submission point. Whether or not it's accepted by this anthology or somewhere else, I've gained valuable insights on how a story develops.