Monday, December 12, 2011

Looking For the Soft Middle

While chocolate will always be my favorite, I reach for hard candy when I have a cold or tickle in my throat. Since I'm an impatient eater, I end up biting and chewing this type of confection. One day, I came across a yummy caramel with a soft center. At the point when I wanted to "be done with this thing already," the creamy goodness stopped me in my tracks.

Writing has the same effect on me. I need to take my time and learn my lessons. But, oh how I want to bite down and finish this task. Where is that soft center that keeps me engaged in the process? I'm so tired of revising, re-writing, and editing that I could scream.

Then, a non-fiction editor accepts one of my devotionals. An agent and two authors urge me to stay the course. Ah, the soft middle! A word of encouragement keeps me interested. Maybe if I stick with this writing long enough, I'll succeed.

Writers: What's your "soft middle?"
Readers: Have you ever taken time to express your appreciation for someone's writing? Do you not only recommend their books to others but let them know you're spreading the good word?


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susan .. my soft middle - I don't spend enough time reading others' books in the first place, or giving them a plug via my site - I must make amends in 2012 ..

Great analogy .. cheers Hilary

Linda O'Connell said...

Susan, I understand exactly what you mean. I wrote on my blog about an author who wrote to my grandson.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Hilary - The publishing industry is competitive and difficult to navigate. I'm sure any support you offer to authors would be most appreciated.

Hi Linda - I'll check it out!

Susan :)

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Love those soft middles. And certainly an encouraging word constitutes as that for me.
~ Wendy

Karen Lange said...

As hard as it is, I think slow and steady is usually the best way to handle our writing. I think it is as much about the journey as it is about the destination. Good "food" for thought!

DenaNetherton said...

Susan, what a great analogy. Oh, how I crave the soft middle, too. My soft middle is spending lots of time in prayer. God always encourages me when I'm down. HE's so wonderful!

Terri Tiffany said...

love your analogy. My soft middle is the words from my CPs urging me to go on when I think everything I write is worthless.

Loree Huebner said...

The soft middle can be the best part of me.

Jeanette Levellie said...

When someone stops me in a store and says, "I read your column and love it!" or an editor tells me I'm funny.

Yes, I try to promote other authors as much as I can, and send them links to blog posts I do on their books. I want to plant seeds of encouragement in their lives, as others have in mine.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Great analogy. Soft middles definitely keep me going, and they usually come in some form of encouragement. From my critique partners or an agent, or even getting a request here and there.

Kristen said...

Great analogy!
My soft middle is just when I'm exhausted with this story and I don't think it could go anywhere or get any better I get a flash of inspiration that is just what the story needs. Maybe it's a great twist, the perfect cliff hanger chapter ending, or a line of snappy dialogue. It reminds me that I'm not washed up or will never have another idea ever again. It reminds me that God is in this with me and if only I keep going I'll eventually be inspired to the point of "The End."

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Wendy - Me too!

Hi Karen - Slow and steady is great, but it gets tiresome when it's years.

Hi Dena - That's not just a soft middle for me; that's survival!

Hi Terri - It was your post that got me thinking along these lines. :)

Hi Loree - It's certainly true of the candy. The encouragement from others is reassuring that I'm going in the right direction.

Hi Jen - You're one of my best encouragers. :)

Hi Cindy - Affirmation does make the journey easier.

Hi Kristen - I'm in the editing stage, and it seems endless.


Melanie N. Brasher said...

an encouraging word goes a long way for me. :) Great post!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Melanie -

I think every writer needs a kind word on a regular basis. :)


Rhonda Schrock said...

Great analogy! And I'm absolutely with you on the white chocolate, girl.

I love hearing from readers - being stopped when out in public, getting those emails after a column appears, or having family members pass on compliments they've received. That helps me keep going!

Marja Verschoor-Meijers said...

I always try to treat others as I want to be treated. So I give out as much encouragement as I can and help others with their writing. I know it will come back to me :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Rhonda - Did you hear that there's a shortage of cocoa beans, and the prices are going up? We'd better stock up now.

Hi Marja - Great point! The Golden Rule is the way to go.

Susan :)

Sarah Forgrave said...

What an awesome analogy, Susan. I love when God gives us those soft middles right when we need them.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Sarah -

Thanks. Who would think that candy with a soft middle would be so inspiring? LOL!

Susan :)