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B is for… Blue Bird

Ever since I was very little, I’ve remembered something just out of reach–a sound and an image of light tans, pastel pinks, and cerulean blue. A memory that I couldn’t quite place, but one that used to permeate my thoughts rather frequently as I grew up. The sound was that of a wooden spoon thudding down against a wooden bowl as mashed potatoes were being served. A woman feeding her family. My mom? My grandma? I could see and hear the “memory,” but I couldn’t place where we would have been that the scene around it made any sense. Along with that memory were little sprinklings of other fantastic images: Young children inventing amazing things from chemistry, and blue birds flitting in and out of scenes my mind could never quite latch onto. Then, a couple of years ago, while I was searching for old classics for my daughter to watch, I came across the movie, “The Blue Bird,” with Elizabeth Taylor (1976). All of those memories came from that one show. That story had engraved itself so deeply into me that having a blue bird one day was something I’d always wanted. That blue bird finally became a reality after a close friend of mine had a parakeet happen into her life and I found out that you can adopt them in blue, as well. So now my own blue bird, Winter Snow, is my office buddy. I also have my own wooden bowl and spoon for whenever I serve mashed potatoes to my own child.

Blue birds may seem like a random thing to talk about (although, if you read yesterday’s post about my garden, you may not think it’s too random this month), but they have been on my mind ever since I read Tabitha’s beautiful post about swallows yesterday. In it, she said something equally as memorable: “[H]ere’s to flying, to waters passed and those still to come before I reach the shore and to all the waters I still hope to venture into.” I just loved that. Still do. What a wonderful way to encapsulate all your hopes—those achieved, those missed, and those still yet to come.

The idea of flying and hope came together for me as blue and green butterflies as I decorated in my daughter’s room six years ago, and after reading that post, I know I must add them to the garden, as well. Blue birds, too, spaced sparingly within the shade trees. Not so many as to scare off other birds, though (not sure if they would, but something I need to research)–just a fluttering here and there to catch the eye and spark the imagination. I did like the idea of dragonflies, too, so I may add some of those, as well. Along with the blue birds and green and blue butterflies, I plan to make a little outdoor graphic (probably stained pyrography or painted pallets) with Tabitha’s wonderful quote. With those elements, then, the checkered bunnies on the ground and a few carefully placed winged creatures above, I believe I have the secret garden area covered for the first year.

[source: linked to picture]

Think I can DIY one of these with the scrap metal on hand out here, too? Regardless, it may still dip to cold at nights to safely plant, but it’s not to cold during the day to start making and painting things.

I’ve also settled on a plot for the mystery series, so I’m rather excited about that. haven’t planned it all out, but I do know the end result that functions as a catalyst for the rest of the story, and I’ve begun writing, so I’m one step further than I was the day before. Well, actually, maybe I will plan it out and use the rest of (or many of) the days of this blog challenge to catalog (haha—C what I did there?) my characters and their relationship to the plot.

Actually, that’s a fine place to leave this blog post. I never tire of hearing about the writing process of others, do you? So, what’s your writing process? Do you tend to stick to the same system with each Work you do, or do you find yourself changing it up frequently?

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  • For me, each book is just a little different. Some start with a title, others a scene that belongs to nothing else I have in the works. Others take a REALLY LONG time to become anything and some just take over and won’t let go of me until I finish telling the character’s story. Sometimes I have to go looking for them and about halfway through each book, I completely freak out about what I still have left to write, but it all comes together in the end as long as I keep putting words down, even the words I know will likely get edited out.

  • Oops, hit done too soon.

    Each story idea comes from a different place, and each fictional character has their own voice the same way real people do. And each story unfolds in its own way like the petals opening on different flowers. It’s the shape of the story, or the shape of the petal, that dictates my writing process rather than the genre (fragrance or color of the flower). My level of discomfort with the subject also dictates how I wrote. The hardest thing I ever wrote I couldn’t write while I was alone. The most personal one came out in the witching hours of night when I couldn’t sleep. The best one came out longhand surrounded by granite mountains and towering pines. Those three are each YA.

  • emily moore says:

    Every book is different, although my favorite part of the process is the same. I love the frenzy of first drafting and that is usually the same. It’s the process in which I rewrite and edit that changes depending on the needs of the manuscript.

    Thank you for sharing about your blue birds! Your garden is vivid in my mind and I wish I could visit it, especially once you complete your cutting, painting, and creating.

    • Jessica S says:

      “[T]he frenzy of the first draft.” ♥ I’m telling you, I’m never going to grow tired of hearing about the writing process. You are so incredibly creative, too, so I really wish I could sit in your mind sometime while one of these frenzies took place. LOL

      Once things start coming together, maybe I’ll post some pictures. Thank you for saying it’s already vivid in your mind, though. Knowing someone else is sharing in the vision makes it feel closer to being a reality. 🙂

  • Tabitha says:

    I LOVE this post. And thank you so much for the link and the lovely words you said! I am so glad it inspired you. And I love LOVE that you have a blue bird now.

    My writing process is something I have really struggled to accept over the years. You see, I cannot plan out a story. I MUST write it blind and without knowing where I am going. I must feel the world out and get to know my characters as they appear, as they talk and as I ‘watch’ them interact. I never know what I am actually writing about until I am a good way through. Usually about about the 100 page mark I start to see some threads. But these threads are often weak and messy. It makes for a magical, but totally chaotic first draft.

    I used to loathe that process. Why can’t I plot? Why can’t I plan it all out and know exactly what I am writing and why? Well, one night in tears the answer came to me. It’s God’s way of leading me through. If I thought for one minute that I could write on my own without Him, I might try. I might be tempted to lean on myself. I come from a lot of brokenness and violence so trust, especially trusting someone in a ‘father’ or leader role has been a hard learnt thing between myself and my heavenly Father. God knows that I still want to try and be in control at times, that I want to do life alone sometimes because I feel safest that way. I fight against my own head daily.

    There is something else my God knows about me. I need to feel very vulnerable and go deep to create work that is meaningful. I need to be fully in the moment with my characters. To ‘see and touch and taste’ their world in the way they might. I would be tempted to intellectualise the whole magic of story if I plotted the thing out. I’d follow my three act story structure and I’d whip that story line’s butt. And none of that, for me anyway, would produce authentic, full-bodied storytelling. The kind where readers sit so close to your characters that they cry and laugh with them. The kind of story telling that creeps inside a reader’s wild soul and beats behind their rib cage with their wild heart. The kind of story telling with the potential to change and impact and transform. And THAT is the kind of storytelling I want to create.

    So, I don’t plan. First drafts are creatures that come to me in the quiet, in the dark, in the imperfect mess of my life. And as I form that first draft it forms me too. I grow with it. I grow up. I stretch. I reach. I dig deeper. And at the end I have a completely free range, untamed beast that I have fallen in love with and together we wrestle in the second draft stage. And that is where the real planning and structure of my story takes place.

    It’s my process. I am now okay with it. Hey, it served my first book well enough 🙂 And it is exactly how I am made as a writer. My hat is off to any planners out there. You rock! Really. But I am forever a panster!

    Thanks for your post, Jess. So great!

    • Jessica S says:

      Thank you for your thorough response! You make words so beautiful. 🙂

      I can completely relate to your process, though my results aren’t quite up to your level. LOL With this one, I feel like I need to loosely plot it, but said plotting has not yet occurred, so… may be panstering on through this one, as well. Especially after reading, “And at the end I have a completely free range, untamed beast that I have fallen in love with and together we wrestle in the second draft stage.” Pretty sure that just solidified my desire to write for the rest of my life. ♥

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About Me
JessicaJessica Schmeidler is a professional editor, ghostwriter, literary agent, and homeschooling mompreneur. While still in college, she began working from home, starting her own business soon thereafter. In 2015 she founded Golden Wheat Literary. If she's not inside reading, writing, or editing, she's outside with her daughter, riding her horses, annoying the chickens, or playing in the garden. Read More
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