My good friend and now cross-country writing soulmate, Sara Dobie Bauer, posted this little gem on Facebook earlier last week:
And I simply went, “Yep.”
Sara and I tend to write and publish serendipitously. It’s like when you hear about girl friends who get their periods the same week each month because they spend so much time together. Sara and I have graced the same publications without telling the other we’d sent in a submission. When one of us finishes a new piece and sends it on to the other for a little first reader love, it’s usually followed with constructive criticism and something like, “Hey, I’m almost done with this new story. I’ll send it your way soon.” And when writer’s block hits or depression takes over or life proves truly crazy and gets in the way of imagination, yeah, we’re usually in synch with that, too.
I sincerely hope that right now Sara isn’t experiencing what I have been the past few months. Although she did post the Scully meme. I wonder how in synch we are at the moment.
Ever since I published Spin: A Novelette on June 5th, my 30th birthday, my inkwell has run dry. Kind of anyway. For the past almost three months, I have been writing. But I’ve also been second guessing my every word. I’ve started a number of projects only to dismiss them less than ten pages in. Usually, when I start a new piece, I’m excited and I can’t wait to write, write, write, but lately it’s felt like a chore. And my work has seemed very blah, very uninspired.
It doesn’t help that I’ve been receiving rejection letter after rejection letter.
I’ve analyzed the situation, and perhaps I should give myself a break. I turned 30, self-published a novelette, left a job, started a new one, moved to California, and threw my back out–all since June 5th. And those are just the highlights. It’s been a lot of change, a lot of adjustment. And I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I felt a ton of pressure after publishing Spin. I mean, the reviews were really good. I feel like I broke into an audience with that piece. How could I keep that going? I didn’t want to fall prey to the sophomore slump. I had to keep creating fiction that was on par with my latest success.
It was exhausting and disheartening to sit down with a tumbler of whiskey, a dedicated Pandora station, and great idea…and no desire to hit the keys.
And here’s the thing. When a writer can’t write, it’s hell. Writing isn’t just something we do, it’s a lifestyle. So when that lovely little thing called writer’s block comes knocking, it’s followed by a touch of good old-fashioned identity crisis. Like the meme Sara posted says, we go a little crazy.
So you’ll understand why I’m so excited to say…I FINISHED SOMETHING TODAY! I really did! It’s a new story and I followed through with it and it’s almost 6,000 words and I feel like I’m getting rid of that funk that made my greatest passion close to unbearable.
The new story is a lovely little Christmas-themed horror piece I plan to submit to a charity anthology. And I feel really good about it. Really good. The way I used to.
I’m not sure what changed, but quite frankly, I don’t really care. I feel like I fit in my skin again. I feel like I can call myself a writer again. My muse is back and I can’t wait to keep writing.