I never thought it would happen to me. I was a writer. Right? I loved putting words on the page. I loved when they flowed out of my fingertips like I was taking dictation. I loved the thrill of a completed first draft, the digging in of revisions. And then. . .I didn’t.
It’s no secret that the business of publishing can be soul-sucking. Wide-eyed and naive, I was caught off-guard by the downs of the business. I retreated into my cave to lick my wounds and regroup.
Except, regrouping isn’t what happened. Instead, Writing Paralysis set in.
Writing Paralysis is ugly, left untreated it is chronic and eventually fatal. I felt lucky to get my usual morning journaling done. Every document I opened to work on seemed like an exercise in futility. Ideas were examined and tossed aside as worthless, trite, or too complex. Works in progress were deemed unworkable. And even worse, no new ideas bubbled forth from my dried-up creative fountain.
Even my wonderful fans (and I sincerely love you all!) asking about a third book in the XVI series weren’t enough to pull me out of the writing abyss in which I found myself.
But then… some things happened. Some planned and some serendipitous.
- I searched my soul and then recommitted to writing because I love to write.
- While attending a regional SCBWI workshop, I felt a slight fanning of the writing embers laying dormant inside me.
- I had my first critique of my WIP from my new critique group. Their thoughtful, pointed, and sometimes really funny comments were gratefully accepted.
- I tucked those ideas into my creative psyche and trusted that good results would rise to the surface and end up on the page.
- I began plotting out a home-grown course of study using information from my library of books on creative writing.
- Out of the proverbial blue, a friend offered me a scholarship to the Indiana University Writers’ Conference.
The first day of the IUWC, I felt a mental shift. I’ve never been to an academic-type conference–and for me the focus on writing and creativity (as opposed to writing & publishing) was profound. I found myself falling back in love with poetry (as a child I wanted to be a poet) and–most importantly–I fell back in love with Writing.
It may be cliched, but getting outside of my comfort zone and looking at writing from a different angle (perhaps an angle closer to how my child-self saw it) has made all the difference in my world. My dreams have become more bizarre & colorful. I wake in the middle of the night with a phrase or idea stuck in my head that needs to be written down before I can get back to sleep. And, I can’t wait to start writing when I get up in the morning. My characters are now alive – I think about them all the time. (Yay!)
The combination of all these things have rocked my writing self in the best of ways.
I truly believe that if you trust your dreams to the Universe, and then take baby steps in the direction of those dreams, paths will be shown, doors and windows will be flung open, and you’ll find that the journey is the fulfilling of your heart’s desire.
Happy writing! (Yes! Really Happy Writing!)