by Jocelyn Paige Kelly
That was my slogan on the wall above my desk where I worked on writing my novel Hurricane Quigley. On many days it offered inspiration. On others, it made me feel like Ahab, and my novel as the great whale.

I started writing this novel back in 2006 during a yearlong workshop from Ellen Sussman on writing a novel in a year. I finished the first draft, but it needed serious work. Basically, I realized (and a lot of this was from Ellen's insight and feedback) was that I had three separate novels going on in one and needed to figure out which one to focus on first.

So, when my divorce began in 2009 and I needed to relocate, I thought very seriously about moving to Wilmington, North Carolina, the location of my novel. I'd never been and being a writer who was passionate about settings as characters, I decided that it was a must-see. 

By October 2010, I had moved across country from Northern California to North Carolina and made Wilmington my new home. I'd live there for three years while immersing myself in the South.

I knew no one there. It was a bold move on many levels.

My novel went through several changes. Every time I was convinced I had the right new change. I've never been more vexed by my creative intuition and endeavors.

But, I'm not discouraged. Writing a novel about a hurricane and living in the South by the beach, I've learned to ride the waves of uncertainty and to just keep moving forward. Life, even life written in fiction, eventually works itself out. 

Besides, moving forward is what people who've overcome great strife have learned to do and discovered how to thrive because of the experience.



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