I’ve been going through a bit of a rough patch here at home, but things are beginning to settle down. As a result, I’m in a reflective mood. I seem to have lost my will to write or even promote. Lost my will to even be online.
However, there is something inside me that doesn’t want to give up on writing, and so I’ve begun taking stock of everything around me—including real life. There is baggage I need to dump in order to lift myself from this sad state. That process has begun. But it’s not so simple where writing is concerned.
What, if anything, do I need to dump with my writing? I can’t think of a single thing. But I do keep thinking of things I need to do more of and get better at. So as I’m worrying over getting my writing mojo back, I’m constantly adding to that worry by berating myself over things I haven’t done well enough.
I’ve got to stop doing that or I’ll go NUTZ!
In thinking on all of this, I went back to the very beginning. The day I sat down at the computer and made the conscious decision to write a book. I was excited. On fire. Sweating bullets in order to get those words inside of me out so they could see the light of day.
I was menopausal. LOL
Yep, that’s what did it for me. Seriously. Years of putting the meat and potatoes on the table for three kids and myself all by myself had gotten to me. PTA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, gymnastics, ballet, jazz, karate, cheerleading, etc. None of that belonged to me. It belonged to THEM. And as much as I love my three kids, I wanted—no—needed something that belonged just to me. Something that had absolutely nothing to do with the kids or my extended family.
So with all my raging hormones, I went ROGUE!
I knew absolutely nothing about what I was doing. In three month’s time I had tapped out 250,000 words. One book. LOL My family thought I was nuts. Still do. They see my frustration, hear me calling the computer every four-letter word I can get my mouth around and DON’T see me on the NYTBSL and wonder just what it is that drives me.
So do I.
But…as menopausal as I was/am, if I hadn’t been writing for the past five years, I may very well have ended up in prison. Anne Rainey posted a blog this past Thursday about menopause. I commented to her about it by telling her I was doing it commando style—no meds. Why? I dislike medicine. Dislike doctors. And it’s not your ordinary kind of dislike either. It’s one of those things I’ve just dug in my heels over and no amount of preaching is going to change it. So writing has kept me “even”. All my frustrations tend to go into writing and haven’t ever spilled over onto the family. Unless, of course, you call my occasional tirade over just who the hell had the gall to move my fan from my desk spilling over. Don’t touch my fans. I have one in each room of my house strategically placed for optimum cooling.
Back to writing.
My friend Destiny Blaine http://destinyblaine.com and I have talked about doing a workshop for writers in which we basically apprise them of all the pitfalls they will encounter in the publishing industry. But time is just not on our side. Hopefully, someday we’ll get around to it. In the meantime, it’s those pitfalls I’ve encountered and others yet unknown to me that I will inevitably encounter on my writing journey that have me tied up in knots for some odd reason. I keep thinking, “Hell, if it’s just one big screw up after another, why keep doing it?”
Good question. And the answer?
Either you’re passionate about writing or you’re not.
And I’ve got to find my passion again. I’ve got to get back to the place I was on that very first day I sat down and started tapping away at the keys. To do this, I’ve got to get my “real life” on track again. Okay, working on that. But more than anything else, I’ve got to quit dwelling on all the things that have gone wrong with my writing career.
Instead, I need to focus on the positives. So what ARE the positives? I am a talented writer. Some of you may think that is conceited of me to say. But if I don’t believe in my own talent, how can I possibly succeed? And I do believe in my ability. I honestly do. That is the ONE thing that remains constant with me that I have never doubted, even as a newbie.
The problem with that is something I’ve learned about having talent and how far it gets you. The cold hard fact is this: You can be loaded with talent and still not succeed. Oh sure, there can be reasons for that like not promoting your author name and books. Not networking with authors and readers. Not dealing well with editors and publishers—just generally screwing up the opportunity. But no, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about picking up a book by an author and reading it and choking on your cornbread because it’s so damn bad. Yet you KNOW this author is a best seller, making butt loads of money, and has nowhere near the talent YOU do.
When it gets right down to it, all the hard work in the world isn’t going to get you where you want to be without some luck involved. Hitting at just the right time with just the right story. Running into just the right editor or agent. Striking a chord of some sort with readers. How the hell do you do all that? It’s a tall order.
So what DO you do? Keep plugging away, making mistakes here and there. Cussing the computer to the high heavens, causing your kids look at you sideways, and just generally dealing with it. Because passion doesn’t ever really go away, does it? It hides, smolders, lays in wait. And then it erupts. Just like in all those sexy romances we write. And that’s why we write romance, isn’t it. To see that glorious passion finally erupt. To tap out that one line that makes us think: WOW! I wrote that.
I know my passion for writing isn’t gone. It’s still there. Hiding. I know this because I’m so worried about it. If I wasn’t, that would mean I didn’t give a flip, wouldn’t it? With time, I’ll find it again. In the meantime, I wait. And so do those six stories I have started. sighhhhhhh