As I sit here at my kitchen table, a cup of coffee by my side, and our snoring dog keeping my feet warm from under the table. I’ll be honest. I had no clue what I wanted to write this blog post about. I did a quick search on Google, but that gave me too many options and confused me more. I decided I couldn’t narrow it down to one thing, so here goes. A mash up of new beginnings, ideas, growth, and the best advice I ever received.
First of all, I’ve decided I must be crazy to start the entire writing a book process again. With two book children under my belt, a third complete, another in the works, and many more ideas to be written, that’s the only way I can describe it. The starting of the rough draft, and the cycle repeats itself from the last time, and that last time after. The doubts, the fear, the joy, and the fear again. Thinking, why bother? So, you ask, why am I bothering? Honestly, I have no damned clue other than I’m courting insanity. Because when I start a new work in progress, it’s like book baby writing amnesia. I forget what I’m in for until I’m there, and sitting at the keyboard. I forget how incredibly rough a first draft can be. I forget that this beast I’m trying to wrangle, and whose form I’m not sure of yet, is not set in stone. That I can go back later, revise, and polish. I forget it doesn’t start off in a nice looking, neat little package. More like a package that’s been re-taped like a hundred times, has beaten up corners, a worn off label, and a mystery stain. In short, it’s been through the ringer a few times. I forget that a rough draft only has one rule: it needs to be written. It doesn’t need to be perfect or pretty, right out of the gate. I can allow myself to dig deep, and get as messy with it as I’d like, because I can go back in later. That nobody will see the first attempts, and I can be easier on myself. Sometimes, of course, that is easier said than done.
I’ve received a lot of writing advice over the years, but the one that has stuck out at me came from a high school English teacher’s sister: she should keep writing. Twenty years later (and holy cow, can’t believe it’s been that long) between marriage, college, having a child, and many other life changing experiences, including an eight year writing hiatus, I have kept writing. I’ve concluded a long time ago that I can’t not write, and that little voice would not stay silent. It’s as much apart of me as anything else, hair color, eye color, height, build, etc. I used to feel guilty for allowing so many years to pass, and not write for the pure joy it gave me. I’ve shed the guilt long ago, because in those eight years, life happened. I grew, and changed from those experiences, and the many more that followed. Experiences that made me the strong person, woman, and writer I am today. This is in turn, has enriched my ideas, my stories, and provides new adventures to explore. So, in an odd way, those years have served a purpose.
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