You Are A Writer
It’s been almost a year since I published a blog post. For all those that were paying attention I apologize for the sabbatical. When you are going a million miles per hour, in several different directions, something eventually gives.
It’s already summer here in New England. The last post I wrote was about my MS diagnosis and how much that moment dramatically changed my life. This week will mark the twenty year anniversary of my diagnosis. I mentioned in my last post that I planned on doing something celebratory and I do! I will be spending the day with my sister Grace, who was also with me the day I was diagnosed. I will write about our fun day together in a later post, but for today I wanted to chat about staying motivated.
We have all had quite a year hunkering down, doing our best to stay positive and safe during a pandemic. Most of us have experienced some form of loss over the past eighteen months. For me personally I lost my mom to Parkinson’s Disease just before Christmas. It was a devastating blow to our family, and no matter what you logically tell yourself there is no preparing for that moment. She was an amazing woman with an incredible appetite for reading. As far back as I can remember anything you brought into the house, newspapers, books, magazines, it didn’t matter. If you left it out, she read it. She was brilliant.
I went to school for business in the nineties, the college professors used to make you subscribe to the Wall Street Journal as part of the curriculum. When I would come home from class, the paper would be opened, pages folded over, clearly read through and with some fervor. I couldn’t understand anyone willingly reading that paper, but my mom loved it. One of my biggest regrets will be that she never got to read the books I published. She would have really enjoyed reading and chatting with me about them, but Parkinson’s doesn’t just rob your mobility, it can take your mind too.
As an author you put yourself out there when you publish your books and poems. It isn’t an easy undertaking. First you spend hours getting what’s in your head out and onto paper. Then you subject yourself to a grueling editing process where you basically hold onto your sanity with both hands and hope the roller coaster ride of self-doubt doesn’t drag you under. Then you publish it hoping people buy it and give it decent reviews just so you can go and start the process all over again. It some ways it’s a bit nuts, but if you ask most authors they wouldn’t trade it for anything.
You get to the end of this long writing process, you celebrate the book launch, and then you hold your breath waiting to see what people think. Let me tell you, some people are just plain mean in their reviews. Yet somehow, through all that, you have to stay positive. You must find the motivation to move through all the steps and stay open to the creative spark that starts your new story. There is no magic pill, no one thing anyone can tell you that will make it all easy. It’s a series of steps that you need to push through. A process you need to develop and tweak to fit your own needs and writing style.
You’ll take long walks and connect with nature. You’ll find a shoulder or two to cry on when you read those one or two star reviews you told yourself you wouldn’t read. My one star review example is below.
“I didn’t like it, it was too otherworldly.” Hmmm, so I write fantasy books about Guardians sent from Heaven to protect humanity against demonic interference…otherworldly it would most definitely be….
You’ll eat pints of ice cream and drink a lot of wine (oh wait, maybe that’s just me). You’ll buy books on writing and sign up for podcasts & webinars in the hopes of finding that one thing you need to be doing to be successful. You know that one thing you didn’t know you should be doing until that best-selling author person told you to do it…uggh, there is so much of that.
You’ll stroll through art museums and drive your partner crazy with “what do you think about this idea for a story?” Whatever it is you do in between writing, do it with enthusiasm. Be grateful you had the nerve to do what others only talk about. You had the courage to put your ideas on paper and publish them, you are a writer!
“If you are not in the arena, also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.” Brene Brown
Pic courtesy of Arnel Hasanovic on unsplash.com