Hi Epic Dreamers!
Whew, it’s been 9 months since my last post. I apologize for the long absence, especially after saying that I was coming back. I really wanted to, but it seems the universe had other plans.
You know how everything shut down in 2020 when covid hit? That’s how my life felt this year. Every area of my life went into complete lock down and I couldn’t force it back into motion. Everything I tried to start led to a dead end. I couldn’t find my creativity or passion. Ideas that seemed like sparks that would reignite the creative flame tapered off or just went in circles. It wasn’t just writing that suffered, but every thing else. I couldn’t seem to find that “flow” in any area of my life.
I realized that this stuck energy was trying to tell me something. It was the same as the body giving you a sore throat or sneeze to alert you to being sick. Just like a cold or flue needs some rest and medicine to heal it, there was something that needed to be acknowledged and dealt with before I could regain activity.
It turns out there were a lot of somethings, but I’ll focus on the one that pertains to writing.
After indie publishing The Hashna Stone, I decided that this whole writing-a-book thing was more than just an experiment or something I did for fun. I was ready to be a “real” writer. I decided that my next book idea was “the one.” It was brilliant and would get me an agent, and I would be a famous author and live happily ever after with a stack of published books to substitute for a white picket fence.
However, it was right when I decided this that things went downhill. The story I was working on wasn’t coming out on paper like it was in my head. Dialogue was awful (and I love writing dialogue!). The characters were cardboard cutouts, even though in my last book, characters were my strong point. I tried to redraft. I tried to step back and re-outline.
NOTHING was saving the story.
I finally decided that it was just not time for me to write this story and set it aside, but the writing muse still refused to bless me with her presence.
Writing became something I dreaded (not every day…I still had some nice writing sessions). When I would think of anything writing related, it made me feel like a failure. I didn’t understand why I could write one book, but not another.
Then I took a look at what was different between writing The Hashna Stone and my current WIP.
My first book was something I did just for the heck of it. It was a challenge to see if I could write a whole book. I wrote it so I could share it with all of you who loved the choose-your-own-adventure version. I wrote it because it was fun and I loved the characters.
But my current project wasn’t just something that I did because I loved doing it. I made it something that defined me. I put finishing a book and getting traditionally published on a pedestal and subconsciously made it the thing that would make life meaningful. That would make me meaningful.
Around this time, I was also learning a whole lot of things about toxic family and how growing up with certain types of parents causes you to have certain beliefs and behaviors as adults. It connected with this realization, but I’ll get into that next post.
I realized that I was holding on to this idea of writing a book too tightly and needed to give it some room to breath. Nothing can be received if your fists are clenched. Energy can’t flow when you’re choking the life out of it.
Sometimes achieving something means chasing it with all your strength. Sometimes it means letting it go.
This doesn’t mean I’m not going to write anymore or that I’ve given up the idea of being traditionally published or self publishing more books. It just means that I’m working on letting go of the idea that achieving success in this one area in my life is the only thing that will really make life valuable or that will bring fulfillment.
I want to do this because of my love for it, not because I’m desperately trying to fill a void my parents left (Uh, yeah, I promised I’d leave that for the next post).
I know this is a very different kind of post than my usual, but I want anyone out there who is struggling with this same thing to know that they aren’t alone.
Okay, so before I end up writing the next post here, I’ll go ahead and end. 😉
What about you all? Have you ever put an unhealthy amount of pressure on yourself to achieve something? I’d love to know if anyone else has had a similar experience/realization.
Until next week, keep dreaming!