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2019 in review—

Updated: Jan 20, 2020

It’s easy to look at blog posts and make snap decisions, such as that I've been too busy too write. The truth is, I’m never too busy for that. The truth is also that, yes, I've been working 10-13 hour days for the last couple of months and that’s put my novel writing more on the back burner, until I take stock.

2019 has been a banner year in many ways.

I finally chose the new WIP and began work on it. Daunting, but exciting stuff! A hint as to what its about: I've binged Mad Men in order to delve into the times. Here's to the sixties!

Directing Shakespeare in Love was an honor and privilege I’ll never forget. I also got a great deal of writing fodder from it, as you can imagine. I know how to write a fight scene, swords and all. And I have an idea for incorporating the era into a fun WIP that’s waiting for its turn.

Mama Mia was a crowd pleaser, and hard. I got very sick, pushed through, possibly permanently hurt my voice (I was a raunchy Roxy). We’ll see.

In the midst of what would be another banner year for the title company, both of my children left for Europe. That was both exciting and hard, and it was a good thing that Gary was the Cowardly Lion in Wizard of Oz. What a joy of a production!

A longterm, trustworthy employee retired as of Friday, so I made position changes that caused me to take on more work during the last several months. I’m really enjoying my staff and pushing for new heights, all with consumer emphasis.

Yes, I’ve still been able to read, review, write my column, and write, but I had to drop out of NaNoWriMo this year. Some things require flexibility.

I've made strong progress into the WIP, and am in a critique group with it. That’s a great thing to be a part of, though I’m really questioning myself about the novel. I’m just more unsure about it than anything I’ve ever written. Great, great potential, but suddenly the view from the headlights seems quite limited. Where am I going with this book? I’m feeling a bit lost. How will it all shake out?

Of course, I have other WIPs. Two which really are competing for brain space. And when the going gets tough, it’s easy to think the grass is greener elsewhere.

This summer I went to Maryland for the bi-annual Historical Novel Society NA conference, and that was a joy. I had an in person meet-up with Twitter friend Janna Noelle ( @jgnoelle ). We started #HFChitChat — a chat dedicated to helping us history lovers group talk novels on twitter, since, as a genre, we are leaving a lot on the table there. We feel great about the progress.

I was talking with Janna lately about my WIP doubts and she made an excellent suggestion. She said, essentially, “I trust you and think this is just growing pains. Don’t toss the novel. Don’t cheat on it and date another one. Instead, let yourself work on the other books only after spending good time working on the true WIP. Then, you aren’t ignoring the WIP or your writing.”

Great idea. And the good news is, it’s working.

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