Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Baby Steps And Light Bulbs

I have to admit, since the holidays it's seemed like everything was conspiring against me when it came to writing. There were those left over January Christmas parties, birthdays, beginning of the year chores such as organizing paperwork and bills, projects at work that left me tired at the end of the day, and the Packers. I live in Wisconsin, need I say more? As thrilled as I am with our Super Bowl champs, it meant every weekend for the past several weeks were occupied with football parties. I'd used up all my vacation days at work, so my available writing time was greatly reduced.

I was feeling stressed by the lack of any down time and wasn't sleeping well. It wasn't unusual for me to be unable to get more than four hours of sleep. The result, I started catching every bug out there, more stress. Snow storms that prevented travel to writing group meetings, even more stress.

I was increasingly frustrated, guilty, sad, angry, and disappointed that I wasn't doing ANY writing. That New Year's goal was haunting my nightmares. I have to say, I'm glad I've made my goals public. It makes it hard, if not impossible, to give up on them knowing everyone you know is waiting and watching to see if you can do it. Not that I could EVER give up on writing. For me it's a necessity of life, analogous to breathing, but it might have been easy to put the novel on the back burner for a while. When I'd finally have an hour to spare, I'd sit in front of my blank computer screen and doze off. The longer this went on, the harder it was to get back into gear. I was losing site of my characters and storyline. It was disheartening to say the least. I missed them terribly.

I couldn't be happier to tell you I'm finally back, really back. It started with a short story. It's totally unrelated to the novel, but sometimes you need to just shift gears for a bit. It was one of those light bulb stories. I was sitting in the break room at work eating my lunch when a co-worker's cell phone rang. (I do owe her one!) The music it played reminded me of a carousel, a light bulb went off, and bang in 24 hours I had a completed short story. A horror story no less!

Then, because I actually had something to share, I went to meet with a group of fellow writers and friends. It felt good to be back in the circle. The next thing that happened was amazing. I was at work when a client came in holding a copy of "Where Do I Begin - One Woman's Story" with the request that I sign it for her. A little ego boost does wonders when one is doubting their abilities. 

Then I started with little things; making a Twitter post, e-mailing an agent, looking up information on building a website, going back to my writer's groups, starting my writing class again, even writing an update for this blog. Things that I count as working towards my goal of having a career as an author. Finally I had a whole weekend to myself and before I knew it, I had two chapters written and the ideas are flowing again. The night I wrote, I actually slept eight full hours. Now that I've started, I'm back to jotting notes all over the place, and I wake up in the morning thinking about where I'm taking my story, or what I want one of my characters to accomplish. It's good to have my old friends back.

I'm not foolish enough to think this won't happen again. That I might not get stuck, or that life won't interrupt me before this is done. But now I know all it will take is some baby steps and maybe a light bulb or two to get back to the place I'm happiest to be.

1 comment:

kathryn lytle said...

I'm right there with you Dody! Some of the same things happened to me. Packer parties, illnesses, projects.....life sometimes gets in the way of what we really want to do. But getting back in the swing of it feels soooo good!