Saturday, November 19, 2011

Writing in the Time of Cholera

The lights in my little apartment in the Dominican Republic went off with a click. Black night from the street outside flooded the house and I scrambled for candles and matches like I always do. The power had gone out again, leaving my entire section of the city in darkness -- except for the pale blue light radiating from my tiny laptop screen where I had been working on the second revision of my current YA manuscript.



"Thank God!" I thought, as I lit the candles and set them next to the outline for my manuscript on the darkened table. "Thank God I had the good sense to charge the computer before the power went off! Now I can pump out another chapter here in the candle light before the battery dies. Then I'll charge the computer again when the power comes back on tomorrow. A lack of electricity can't get in my way, not today!"
It's a true tale, and the beginning of my answer to the question many fellow YA writers have been asking me since I let this blog go inexplicably quiet in September of last year. (Sorry about that.) I'm here now, to restart the blog. But here's the story that many of you know and many of you don't know: I took a brief hiaitus from blogging to start a two year stint of humanitarian work on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic. That's where I am currently living and writing.



In September, 2010, right after attending the wonderful, annual, 2010 SCBWI Carolinas Fall
Conference, I began a transition from my (day) job in the United States to my current 2 year
committment doing health care work in the countryside of the Dominican Republic.
Realizing that I didn't have time to make this transition, and write my manuscript, and blog all
at the same time, I put the blog on a break. For several months, in Spring 2011, I also had to put my fiction and non-fiction writing on a break, so I could move here in June 2011, learn a new language, get used to a new culture, and orient to a new job. I got a writer-friend to cover my column in the SCBWI Pen and Palette for the summer, (thanks Jenny Murray,) stuck my computer in my suitcase and brought it to theD.R. with me, and put some things in my writing life very temporarily on hold.

But I'm now back with my `butt in the chair,' noveling -- in a different country temporarily, surrounded by a different culture and language - but still attending my critique group meetings in Raleigh via skype, (God bless the Goalies,) writing my SCBWI column and other non-fiction work, and now back to blogging as well. I'm thrilled to be living the good life - doing humanitarian work, which has always been dear to my heart, while working seriously on my writing at the same time!


All of that to say,while I spend my days riding up and down a mountain on a motorcycle,
checking blood pressures, hugging children, and going house to house educating people
on how to stop a minor cholera outbreak that is causing problems here on
the North Coast of the Dominican Republic, I'm also re-awakening writermorphosis.

Stop by here for tips on how to keep your writing career going, no matter where you're living,
as well as various ruminations and tips on YA fiction and nonfiction writing and publishing; details and interviews with fellow SCBWIers who have new agents, new adventures, and new books coming out; and info. on YA events and contests --- all the usual Writermorphosis stuff!


Thanks to all my many writer friends who've kept in touch and kept me on task with
my noveling during this transition. I've missed you guys too! I'm glad to be back on-line with
the blog, and I hope to see many of you at the SCBWI Conference in Charlotte in September!
I'll be here on Writermorphosis, posting at least every 2 weeks -- whenever the electricity is on! : )

5 comments:

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

Welcome back! I am intrigued by your health work in DR. Lots of writing material there I bettcha!

Even if your story is a stateside one, I have a feeling you're finding universal themes to inspire you.

Looking forward to reading more from you.

Janelle said...

Thanks Joyce! Glad to be back! I'm always thrilled to see you stopping by writermorphosis! : )

Linda A. said...

Janelle,
I am so blown away by you. You are a terrific writer, organizer, and now I learn that you are a humanitarian too. I am definitely signing up to receive your blog posts.

Maria Ross said...

Hey Janelle,

I'm looking forward to following your blog! I'm awed by your committment to the work you are doing in the DR. So glad that you are ready to get back to your writing!

Janelle said...

Hi Linda and Maria,

So great to see you guys! Yes, it's kind of a challenge keeping up with the writing whiel here. And yet, I think that's true for all of us - writers. Most all of us have jobs, kids, community involvement stuff we're doing, etc, that we have to juggle along with our writing. That's part of the adventure of it. No? : ) I hope your writing is going well too! Thanks for following the blog!