Time to put my ass in the chair

I’m a little late getting started this year. Two much movie going I guess. Last week we saw three more movies: The Big Short, Concussion, and Brooklyn. All great I’d give them all an A. But now it’s time to get back to work.

I told myself I guess the word is resolved to open up my novel again and see if I can bring it back to life. I put it aside at the end of last April when I went to work my consulting job in Colorado and sent it off to several beta readers. I was also devastated by one particularly scathing review that literally stopped me in my tracks.

But, enough is enough. I’ve put a lot of work into that book. I cannot just throw it all out.


I was also encouraged by the movie Brooklyn. Like my novel it’s about immigrating to America. Of course our stories are very different but it makes me feel that immigration stories are still alive and well not like the scathing reviewer said. Plus there are several boarding house scenes in the movie that are great role models for me. I have scenes in my book the show the women who live in the boarding house eating at the dining room table with their bossy house-mother giving them advice and counsel. I’m going to see if I can make my characters come as alive as those depicted in Brooklyn.

So even though I still am awaiting one more important review, I’m going to go ahead and see if I can:

  • Accommodate the helpful comments I’ve received
  • Rejuvenate my characters
  • Revisit the plotline
  • And thoroughly edit the entire book

I’m not sure of the correct order to do these things, but I’ll figure it out. I know I have a lot of work to do, but, this is still the first of the year. If I set myself a December 31 deadline, I have plenty of time.

Of course, I don’t want my writing year to be all about my novel. I submitted a few poems to a journal a week or so ago, and I plan to enter more contests and submit to anthologies. That said, I need to gather a list of potential candidates, which should take a bit of time. I have a lot of new poems just waiting for editing and submission.

Enough for now. Writing here is another stall. I’ll be back with periodic updates.

Please let me know your writing woes. Maybe we can compare notes.


  1. I really admire your focus and determination, Madeline. Glad you took a little time off to watch those great movies. I did the same.

    All best with novels and poems and blogging in the new year. May 2016 be good to you,

    • Madeline Sharples says

      Thanks so much Shirley. I think the time off was nourishing.

      All best to you in the new year as well. Sorry I won’t get to meet you in person in Virginia in March.

  2. Madeline, so happy to hear you are getting back on track and honoring your story, the one only you can tell. I often take periods away from writing my story to let it marinate, then revisit it with fresh eyes. As far as the one scathing reviewer.. ( and I have had them too), I have found after the initial pinch that I can choose to listen and learn, take what makes sense and disregard the rest. It’s your story and your voice we want to hear. Sending blessings as you get back into that chair.

    • Madeline Sharples says

      Dear Kathy,
      Thanks for your encouragement. I’m doing the same – looking at what makes sense and disregarding the rest. Most of that reviewer’s edits are not in my voice at all. I so much appreciate you and your words.

  3. Madeline, glad you have not forsaken your novel. Things often need to be set aside, and it takes courage to go back and pick them up again. I admire your determination to move forward. Blessings to you in this new year and good fortune with the novel.

    • Madeline Sharples says

      Dear Sherrey, It took me months to pick it up again, but now I feel like I’m looking at it with fresh eyes. I used to encourage engineers to set aside their proposal writing before editing it. And even though this was a longer hiatus than I normally suggest, I think it will be worth it. Thanks so much for your blessing. I wish you and yours a very happy and healthy 2016.

  4. Madeline, Thanks for a rousing post. I know what it’s like to pick up again after a bad review. Precisely why I am where I am after years of writing. I’d get a bunch of great reviews but one bad one would stop me. I’m glad to hear you’re going to pick up your novel and get working on it again. In a way, that’s motivation for me, and probably for other readers, to keep going with my novel and finish it after years of resistance and self-sabotage. Time to put your ass and my arse (Br.) in our chairs and make 2016 our year.

    • Madeline Sharples says

      I’m so glad I inspired you Pennie. Yes, 2016 is our year. Let’s keep in touch on our progress. All best

Speak Your Mind