If you listen really hard, you can hear the blog-crickets, can’t you?
I know I’m right. I hear them, too, and they shame me.
To be honest, “blogger” is not a descriptor that falls within the Venn Diagram of my random skill sets: Typist – check. Dog walker – check. Kool-Aid mom – check. Even mouse catcher extraordinaire back in my graduate days.
But not blogger.
As of January, I’ve written and published a book (novella) so therefore I “should” blog. Haven’t we all heard that? Got a book? Now, get a blog. It’s the “lore” of being successful. But as the last of four kids and an only girl, you must understand that the word “should” in a sentence usually translates into “snowball’s chance in hell.”
Still, not to be inflexible, I have decided to suspend my innate stubbornness for a moment and give it a shot.
My first question of course is: “What the hell should I write? This isn’t supposed to be a story but a commentary.” After asking quite a few folks, survey says: Write about writing.
And I roll my eyes because as usual I’m coming at an endeavor through a side door, or better yet a basement window. I approach my writing from more of a Jungian point of view. One that deals with the insides of heads not the validity of the Oxford comma (of which I am a fan). I’m not a literature major but a psychologist, evolutionary biologist and a hopeless romantic daydreamer.
And I don’t have a PROCESS for writing. I think up stories in my head and then put them down on paper. That’s it in a nutshell. Not to mention how many wonderful blogs are already out there dealing with editing and writing and plotting and all things authorial by people who actually know what they’re doing. I don’t have a truly fresh take on any of that, and honestly it’s not as interesting to me as thinking up new characters and plots. (I know, such heresy!)
I like to daydream. It’s that simple. (And yes, daydreamer is in the Venn Diagram along with chocaholic and cat lover.)
So, back to the question of what to write. Well, how about I just try to be myself, for better or worse, and we can just talk.
So, lovelies, how has 2016 has been treating you? (Seriously answer in the comments below, I’d love to know.) I hope your year has been spectacular thus far and looks like more good is coming to you.
How is mine, you ask. Well I have to admit that it has gone just a teeny bit wonky.
I thought I was going to own 2016. It was going to start with a bang and be fireworks and glitter storms all the way to the horizon. And it did sort of start out that way. Son of Anubis came out in January, which I am very happy about as much for the fact of breaking through that mental wall of getting “out there” as anything else. I love the character of Jake and the fresh take on his story. I doubt it will be hailed one day as my absolute best and shining work. After all I’m only getting started. That jewel of a story is yet to come. But what a lovely start to 2016.
As soon as Anubis came out, I was ready to charge down the path to that better book. I was an “Author” now. I was dying to go gangbusters on the first in my new Goddess Stones series, called The Goddess’s Dark Hand. Birthed as a short story, I had expanded it and found a plot that wove into three books well without stretching or crimping. I worked most of the bones out during NaNoWriMo and was confident the first story would just flow from my fingers.
Then as January turned to February, I found myself wading hip-deep in family commitments, old anxieties and time crunches that my December Pollyanna wishing well had not made room for. And as for the writing? Alas, the Muse was not with me. I was stalled. I couldn’t write or edit worth a damn.
I wanted force it, Remember this was going to be MY year! I wasn’t going to give it up. dammit. (Stubborn much?) I was desperate to keep to my plan. The harder I pushed, the more muck I found.
In my imaginings of success, I had forgotten something very important. I forgot who my Muse is. Now whether you think the Muse is just a facet of myself or a bigger magic of Spirit doesn’t really matter to this discussion. Whatever she is… she is NOT an industrial-complex Henry-Ford-loving machine of production. She does not do TPS reports. She does not punch a timecard and has no obligation to visit even when I make elderberry tea for her.
She does not work on command. Or to “spec”. She is organic. A growing thing far more enamored of roads less taken than the beaten path. A lover of the surf’s ebb and flow who is as delighted at the unexpected gift of blueberries on a summer hike as she is to mud squelching between my toes. And I gotta love her for that.
I have been stumped like this before. But in all the newness and hype of my shiny new book, I’d forgotten what she’s trying to tell me. When she puts walls up everywhere I look, it means the story, my story, OUR story, isn’t ready yet.
As much as I liked the outline and the characters and the twists, my Muse was telling me it wasn’t done incubating yet.
I can’t fight her when she gets like that. Don’t know where she gets her stubbornness from but there’s nothing else to do except put it aside and go back to living. Just regular life. Dealing with teens, making dinner, walking the dog, planning a sweet 16, figuring taxes, looking for new jobs. All the mundane stuff as if there isn’t something passionately vital waiting in the wings yearning to be done.
And so I’ve taken time for being present to do these things and now that they are almost done, I am taking the time I really needed, time with nothing on my mind but the wind in the leaves, the burgeoning green of spring and the birds messily flicking seed hulls from the feeders as I drink my coffee on the porch.
And my Muse has delivered. As she always does when I step back. In flashes of insight, quick as shooting stars, I found new twists. Bad guys become good guys and good guys develop questionable motives. New facets of story and arc have appeared and it is all so much richer than it was in November and December. So once March is fully underway and my commitments are done, I will be taking a weekend retreat somewhere without Netflix or kids. And I’m pretty sure by then the Muse will let me have my words back And they will be so much the better for all of this. I’ve come full circle back to gratitude and hopefully we can dazzle you in the fall with Dark Hand.
Do you find yourself blocked in life? How do you get through it? And does it lead you somewhere better? Talk to me.
Want some great stories of romance or dragons or spooky things that are available right now? Check out the other BHC authors here.
For sites on writing and the writer’s life, these are a good start:
- Ruth Long’s The Bullish Blog
- Chris, the Story Reading Ape’s Blog, here.
- Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds.
* Ballet photograph was found on Pinterest, I could not find an attribution for it. If anyone knows who i can attribute it to, please let me know.