I took a long, long break from writing to focus on another goal that only recently reached its conclusion: the Renaissance Faire. It was a successful undertaking, but it was a lot of work, and sucked up all the time I had. And do mean all of it. When I wasn’t at my job, I was parked in front of my sewing machine, frantically trying to get as much done as I could. I put off everything else. I did not draw, I did not write, I did not read, I did not exercise, I did not play video games, I did not watch TV, I did not go for walks with my dog, I did not spend as much time on Skype with my significant other as I normally do. Thinking back on that time, I remember the stress and the anxiety, but I don’t remember anything outside of that.
Yes, I was working on something that I enjoy doing as it is. Yes, the event was a great opportunity. Yes, I am glad that I did it. And yes, it was a success by every stretch of the imagination.
But it did take away something that I love, and usher me towards that invisible wall that comes when I spend too much time away from a project.
I still don’t know why that wall comes up at all. I don’t know why that thing clings to the space between my shoulder blades. Two books down with ideas for more, and I’m still running into those problems. I don’t know if they’ll ever truly go away, but the amazing thing is, once I learned to accept them, they started getting easier to handle.
This year is turning out to be a year of acceptance for me. There are some things that I wanted to see happen that just are not going to happen, and my priorities demanded to be shuffled and reordered. I still feel weird posting things like this on my blog as I am not brave enough to bare my soul and expect anything but disdain in return, but you know what? This one is for those who can relate to that feeling I get between projects. This is me telling you that, for whatever it’s worth, it will be okay.
For me, accepting that certain things were not going to happen the way I dreamed was freeing. I no longer feel the crushing need to accomplish something impossible, or hold myself up to the success of others. I have not given up, though, nor have I settled for something less. I’ve just started setting more realistic goals that will, eventually, add up to that bigger goal I’ve always dreamed about. As much as I wanted to get there by sprinting right out of the gate, what they say is true: you have to learn to walk before you can run.
And accepting that, in turn, took the pressure away from writing. It became something to look forward to again, because it was something that I was doing purely out of love. My imagined worlds became escapes again, not cages. The ideas started coming back, and for the first time in a very long time, I was excited about the idea of writing another novel.
So much so, in fact, that creating an initial outline for the book, which I had been stalled on since December, got finished within a day. That was just last Thursday. Since then, I’ve filled a wall with multi-colored Post-It notes, tweaked a few ideas, fleshed out and strengthened some of the weaker ones, written a chapter and started another. It’s amazing what you can do when you’re excited about something.
And sure, all of this means that one of my walls looks disturbingly like the wall the cops find on TV when they finally break into the serial killer’s lair and find that snarled network of notes, color-coordinated threads strung across maps, and photographs tacked in the weirdest places. I find myself looking at that wall and thinking,
But mostly, it’s just something I look forward to sinking my teeth into and transforming into another book. I have a long way to go before I publish book 3, and I can’t guarantee this excitement will stay with me the whole time. Frankly, I don’t expect it to; writing a book is still a lot of work, and there will be tough times ahead. There will be snarled narratives, struggles with dialogue, bursts of Writer’s Block. None of that is anything new. But as before, as so many times before, I will overcome it as I need to. And this time, I plan on remembering why I’m doing it in the first place.