My Best Season by Kerri Jesmer
Please welcome my colleague and friend, Keri Jesmer to the Writer's Journey Blog this week!
I am honored to be invited for a second visit to your blog, Elaine. Thank you so much for having me here.
Recently, I had the opportunity to edit two anthologies. Both were for Sweetycat Press – The Wordsmith Chronicles and To Be Or Not To Be A Writer. It was both an honor and a joy to be asked to edit them and show my abilities. And now I have even more gratitude for my mentor and friend, Steve Carr, for helping me become not only an author but also to add Editor to my resume. That led me to create a website for editing with lower prices to encourage newer writers to seek help. You can find my website here:
I’ve always been a detail-oriented person, noticing errors in even professionally published books, which I find annoying. I beta read for a few friends and did some minor editing – or proofreading, really – for them. That’s when I realized, “Hey, I can actually do this for a living!” It’s something I enjoy and it keeps me busy during this ‘shelter in place’ time that has grown into such a depressing, everyday situation for us all. So to anyone reading this, I’m available to help you if you need it.
The beauty of having an editor and reading about editing is that you begin to learn things you were not aware of in your writing previously. I’m a notorious tense jumper. But I had no idea until my editor, Dennis W. Doty, let me know. And from there, I began to learn more and more about how a writer should be writing. Dennis made my stories publishable. Reading Grant Hudson’s book, How Stories Really Work: Exploring the Physics of Fiction, taught me even more. It is a fantastic book that helped me grow as a writer.
Enough about editing, though, because first and foremost, I am a writer. I had a bit of a dry spell with my writing recently. By that, I mean I was writing off and on but not finishing much of anything, nor submitting anything. I finally decided to get it together and wrote a poem that I submitting to Poetica #2: The Inner Circle Writers Group Poetry Anthology 2020, which was recently accepted. I don’t think I will ever get over the excitement and thrill of having a story accepted, especially by publishers I admire and know produce quality work. That’s exciting. And I’m blessed to be a member of several groups created by such publishers, so I have many opportunities before me.
At my age, though, I tend to ‘feel’ retired and I don’t push the way I did in the working world after so many years of ambition and long hours. That dwindled in the last few years I worked due to health issues. I wasn’t “the best” anymore. I struggled to put in fourteen-hour days. I struggled to put in twelve. Since my work, and being very good at it, was a deep sense of who I was, this was difficult to process. But in time I have and don’t wish to push myself for perfection these days.
I know! What am I thinking? But I don’t want to feel that pressure to live up to everyone else’s expectations. Editing suits me just fine and writing when I feel a story coming to life does, too. I like this calmer, more centered self.
I have a novel I have been itching to get back to writing that has been in the works for a good nine or ten years now. I started with a short story and decided I could write much more. When my initial MC, whom I adore and love so much, started to tell me more, I pursued writing as often as possible for a year. Of course, that was in between long hours and often ended up being on weekends only when I could find the time. I still had a younger child at home, too. I had an experienced friend do some editing for me on the first one hundred twenty-three pages when I started to feel something wasn’t moving well in the story. Back then, I wasn’t paying attention to word count, so I can’t say how many words I had written at that point. But I’d felt things were not where I wanted them to be. I wasn’t happy and with my friend’s suggestions, I dumped many pages of the book and even changed my MC to another character. I even took the location to another realm included in the story. It was very close to starting from scratch. Life got in the way and I had years at a time I didn’t work on the book at all. I thought I would never get back to it. When I did, I was still working so much, plus struggling with health issues that caused exhaustion and other issues, I lost where I wanted to take the story. I’ve only written on it a couple of times since 2018.
Instead, I found writing groups, hoping to build my desire to write again. And I ended up writing short stories. That has been very satisfying.
There is a time for everything, a season in our lives when things fit better than others. I suppose my time to write simply chose to come a bit later in life. I’m alright with that. It’s given me a lot of joy. And I hope I can support other writers and help them bring their dreams to fruition as I journey along on mine.
Bio: Born in Germany, Kerri was raised on the Eastern plains of Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband, two dogs, and two cats. She is an author, mentor, and part-time editor. She has been published in Dastaan World Magazine, Fifty-word Stories, Spillwords.com, Inner Circle Writers’ Magazine, Dark X-mas Holiday Drabbles Anthology, Portal, the Inner Circle Writers’ Group Children’s Anthology, Alpha One: A Christian Cornucopia anthology, and Unity, Volume 1: A Magical Realism Anthology, from which all proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders, among others. She was also included in the Who’s Who of Emerging Writers of 2020 and I, The Writer, both published by Sweetycat Press. She spent several years mentoring middle and high school writing groups. She currently has two blogs, the newest on writing, and has been blogging since 2004. You may find those blogs here: https://kerriwrites342770527.wordpress.com/ and http://thatswhatshestalkingabout.blogspot.com/. Her editing website can be found here: https://kljesmer79.wixsite.com/website. You may follow her writing on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/author/kerrijesmer. And on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20121787.Kerri_Jesmer?from_search=true&from_srp=true.