My Musical Family - Joy Riggs

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A blog about my family's adventures in making and appreciating music.
Updated: 16 min 34 sec ago

A Fall Progress Report

Mon, 10/17/2016 - 2:14pm
The clues are everywhere I look today: the carpet of red, yellow, and brown leaves in the front yard, the blushing hydrangeas in the back yard, and the unopened bags of Halloween candy that whisper temptingly from their (not-so-hidden) hiding place next to the back door. But a glace at the calendar confirms it; it is indeed mid-October, which seems like an appropriate time for me to provide an update on the status of my book-in-progress, Finding My Musical Family.

Earlier this month, I spent a lovely and productive four days at a writing retreat at Faith’s Lodge in northern Wisconsin. Led by author/teacher/editor/rockin’ bass player/amazing human being Kate Hopper, the retreat has become a fixture in my writing life; I don’t know how I ever did without it. When I went back and tallied how many times I have now attended, I was startled to discover that this fall’s event was my eighth time at the retreat. I am not sure how that is possible.

The first time I attended, in February of 2014, with my friend Myrna Mibus, I was incredibly nervous about how my writing would be received by the other writers, and I felt unsure about the structure and focus of my book. I look back at that time with a mixture of gratitude and amazement. During that retreat and the ones that followed, I wrote several essays, some of which have been published, and I wrote several sections of my book-in-progress. I also welcomed into my life a group of talented and genuinely supportive women whose words and stories continue to inspire, comfort, challenge, captivate, and move me, long after we leave the retreat and return to our respective families.

Myrna and I shared a room at this last retreat, too, and a conversation we had one night caused me to step back and reflect on the difference between how I felt in February 2014 and how I feel now, in October 2016. I know that I have grown as a writer. I feel much more confident about my ability to tell the story I want to tell, and I am excited and eager to finish the draft of my book. I am filled with deep and sincere gratitude for everyone who has been a part of this journey so far, those who have encouraged and inspired me by their own writing, those who have listened to me complain or dream or work through my doubts, those who have read my words and asked for more, and those who stop me in the grocery store to ask how my latest chapter is coming along (which usually startles me until I remember that I just posted something about the chapter on Facebook). 

I am not as far along as I had hoped to be a few months ago, but I have learned in this writing process that it is a process, not a race, and I have to trust that it is coming along in a way that ultimately makes sense.

At my conference with Kate at the last retreat, I set the following goals: I plan to complete the remaining six chapters of my book by the end of 2016, and I plan to complete a book proposal and any necessary chapter revisions by mid-January 2017, so I will be ready for the next step: approaching potential publishers.

The goal is ambitious, but I believe it is achievable. I will keep you posted. Happy fall!

Categories: Citizens

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