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From Writing Slump to Epiphany

by Carol Burnside
(aka Annie Rayburn)

Confession: I’ve been in a writing slump of late, but I think an epiphany may have catapulted me out of it. Let me explain…

Speaking of that writing slump, by ‘of late’ I mean off and on for the last two years. Part of the writing slump had to do with personal losses and how it affected my emotional/mental health. Part of the slump had to do with how long I’ve been writing without getting that ‘big break’. Oh, I won contests and placed in others, I got requests from editors and even had them wanting revisions, even got breath-holding close to getting a contract from a BIG-NAME publisher. But in the end, the accumulated ‘no’s’ had taken their toll.

Bless her heart (and I mean that sincerely), Susan Carlisle was a bright spot in my slump. During critiques or  occasionally when I asked her to listen to a small passage I read, she always had encouraging words to say about my writing, my story ideas, my characters. [I could love that woman for this alone, but there are many other reasons to do so. She’s an outstanding friend!]

Recently, the link to a recommended blog post appeared on more than one loop I’m a memberlightbulb, ideaof. I clicked on the link, not really expecting anything earth-shattering, but was pleasantly surprised. The title of the post was The Business Rusch: Perfection.  It covers several topics all writers deal with – striving for perfection in our writing, the over-value we often place on critiques, automatically looking for the bad while critiquing rather than just reading for enjoyment first, the power we give to others regarding our work, trusting ourselves and the story we want to tell. That wasn’t everything Kristine Kathryn Rusch touched on for the post is lengthy, but it’s worth a read, even if you have to come back to it and re-read to digest the message.

I think it would even other creative types such as artists and musicians could glean important lessons from it as well, but I digress. Basically, I’m saying – GO READ THAT POST.

But before you go, the result of my epiphany is that I’ve re-read some of my manuscripts. I’ve made plans to finish several stories I felt stalled on. I fell in love with writing again. As a result, I bought two beautiful covers for books I want to release on my own, but one of them is the third in a trilogy, so I’m looking for more. The point is that I believe once again that there is an audience for my books, I believe in the stories I wrote, I believe  others will fall in love with them just like I did.

I have more than writing and editing and covers to occupy me now. I’ve got a marketing plan to put in place and dates to put on my calendar and… well, stay tuned because Carol Burnside and Annie Rayburn are once again excited about STORY, CHARACTERS, PLOT, the way words paint a picture again and have BIG PLANS.



Marilyn Baron - July 9, 2012 - 7:59 am

Thanks for the words of advice. I look forward to reading the post. I agree that having something positive happen can jump start your writing. I am also revisiting old stories and I feel positive about that. I’ve had some positive things happen recently and as a result I’ve been more productive and creative and have been setting writing goals.

Linsey Lanier - July 9, 2012 - 8:20 am

That post meant a lot to me, too, Carol. While a good critique can help us improve, we writers need to think more positively, imo.

I’m so glad you’ve come out of your slump. You are a terrific writer and your stories need to be read. :) Looking forward to seeing them.

Tamara LeBlanc - July 9, 2012 - 10:17 am

I think your epiphany is fantastic. I’m so glad you’re getting all your ducks in a row and working on moving forward again.
I plan on reading the post you offered and hope I get as much out of it as you seem to have.
I wish you the best, Carol. Best of luck to you, in everything you do.
Have a brilliant week!!

Carol Burnside - July 9, 2012 - 12:18 pm

@Marilyn: It’s always nicer to dwell on the positive. There’s enough negativity in this business.

@Linsey: Thank you for the compliment. Right back at ya!

@Tamara: We’re looking forward to having you back on PFHT again soon and hope to see more of your writing as well.

Sandra Elzie - July 9, 2012 - 1:37 pm

Hi Carol,
I understand those “slump” times. I was stalled, slow to get much writing done because the beginning of the story just wasn’t right…and I was having trouble moving on until it was.

Finally I got a brainstorm early one morning just after waking up…actually, have to admit that I prayed the night before for wisdom in where to open the story…and I moved the setting. Now I’m happy….and so are my characters.

Thanks for sharing today.

Pam Asberry - July 9, 2012 - 2:48 pm

That post was inspiring to me too, Carol, and I am excited about digging into my revision once again, determined to have at least this ONE manuscript completely finished before I start my new teaching year in August. Thank you for sharing your epiphany with us, and I am thrilled that you are writing writing writing again! :-)

Maxine Davis - July 9, 2012 - 2:55 pm

Carol, I’m very happy for you and look forward to reading more of your work! I am going to read that post. I feel like I’ve run aground for a couple of years. I hope it changes me too. Thanks.

Sia Huff - July 9, 2012 - 3:25 pm

So glad you had your epiphany and you’re excited about writing again. I’ll check out that post, as “perfection” grabbed my attention.
I have to agree Susan is a great friend and one to have in your corner. You’re a wonderful writer. Between all the positives, I think you’ll go far.
Much success in your new endeavor :)

Carol Burnside - July 9, 2012 - 6:43 pm

I’m so glad y’all are getting something from one or the other post.

@Sandy – it never hurts to send up a plea for inspiration!

@Pam – I’m thrilled too! Wishing you speed in finishing that manuscript.

@Maxine – That’s the way I felt – run aground. Stagnant and uninspired. Fingers crossed her words will speak to you too.

@Sia – Aw, thanks for the compliment and best wishes, Sia. You’re a sweetheart. :hugleft: :hugright:

Tami Brothers - July 10, 2012 - 6:21 am

YAY!!! I LOVE your crainy (sorry, can’t spell the full word) books. I love not only the stories themselves, but your voice. So know this. You already have sales. We’re just waiting for the releases. :)

Can’t wait, Carol!


Tami Brothers - July 10, 2012 - 6:24 am

PS – Forgot to mention that Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s article is AWESOME! I’ve shared it with several friends who REALLY needed it and I’ve posted it on my wall as a reminder to myself. Not only for myself, but for those stories I also critique. Great stuff. Thanks for sharing it.


Susan Carlisle - July 10, 2012 - 4:13 pm

I tell no lie. I love your stories. I’m glad to know that they are going out into the world! You go girl.

Carol Burnside - July 10, 2012 - 10:18 pm

@Tami: Thanks. Sweet words to my ears! I’ve been checking your website often for news of your new release. I enjoyed Drool Worthy and have been looking forward to reading In Her Wildest Dreams.

I’m glad you found KR’s article of value. I’ve enjoyed sharing it with others.

@Susan: Hugs, girlfriend. Can’t wait to see you and Darcy at Nat’l.

Darcy Crowder - July 11, 2012 - 3:22 pm

Yay!! I’m so happy for you, Carol. :) I KNOW these books will be successful. You have a lovely voice and heartwarming characters – just what readers want. I can’t wait to see what’s right around the corner for you. See you in Anaheim!!!

Bryonna Nobles - July 13, 2012 - 11:50 am

Great post. I can’t wait to go and check out this blog article you’ve linked.

I understand all too well what its like being in a slump. I finally feel I, too, am digging myself out of my own slump and moving in the right direction. I had to make some difficult decisions, but I’m ready to fall in love with writing again!

I look forward to your books coming out. ;)

Debbie Kaufman - July 16, 2012 - 1:51 pm

Getting to the other side of a slump like that is so sweet. It’s like joy finally returns :)

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