As you have probably guesses since it’s been over two weeks since I posted my last career plan update, things haven’t been moving along on the Cherry Challenge book.

However, I am getting Sword & Illusion polished.

This has been a growth experience for me.

A couple of months ago, my sister-in-law (Beloved’s sister) and her husband came to visit her parents who are now living about a mile and a half from us.

Sister-in-law and her husband are artists. Painting/sculpting type artists. They had a business both when they lived in New Jersey and then again after they moved to California where they live now doing murals and faux finishes for both businesses and private homes. Their work is amazing.

Sister-in-law has painted the Girl’s bedroom twice (once in PA, once here) free of charge. Someday, she might do the same for the Boy.

Anyway, after all this time, both of them (SIL and her husband) have developed some back problems and the mural business isn’t working as well for them. So, they’ve been looking for other art-y type work.

Her husband was talking to Beloved and me about the struggles SIL has been having in finding her own “voice” in art. She would do something – he’d make suggestions – she’d do it his way – she wouldn’t be happy.

As he talked to us about this, we kept exchanging glances because it sounded so similar to the process we’ve been going through in our writing. Her husband is interesting to talk to because even though he isn’t a writer, he gets the creative process and we have great talks.

Anyway, that conversation has been instrumental in my “taking ownership” (I really hate that kind of nonsense blabber speak) of my own creativity and my writing. Beloved makes comments and will write whole new paragraphs/scenes to fix a plot hole or add a new cool idea to my story.

Sometimes, a lot of the time, what he adds actually does make the story better, and I generally just change the words around to make it sound more like how I would have written it.

However, sometimes, what he writes doesn’t fit in with the vision I have for the book. That may be because I haven’t shared everything that’s in my head with him. I might have thought I did but I’m find out I didn’t.

Also, I cut this book in half for length reasons and there are loose ends that need to be tied up and he came up with some ways to do that. Some I’m okay with, but some I’m not.

It’s very hard for me to tell him I don’t like something he suggested. Mainly because he gets so excited about what he wrote and he often thinks we agreed to something that I don’t think we did, so I go in one direction and he goes another way. I finally have had to tell him that I just don’t like something he wrote or some idea he had.

It’s been a tough process because I have some insecurities and pretty much believe he’s a better writer than I am and I would rather just do it his way than fight about it. But that doesn’t make me happy, so I have had to learn to be honest and say, “Hey, I don’t like this so I’m rewriting the scene to fit my vision.” Usually we can find a compromise, but in the end this is my book, which he recognizes, and I have to be strong enough to stand up for it.

All that being said, I honestly think I see a day when I can proclaim the book totally, 100% finished.

I don’t quite know what life will be like when I don’t have this book to work on, but I’m looking forward to that day!