I'm writing again!
Big deal, you are thinking. Isn't that what writers do? Well, yes, but if you've been following this blog for awhile, you know that for the last year and a half, posting here is the only writing I have done.
There are writers who can write from the death bed of a loved one. There are writers who wrote from their own deathbeds. I am not that strong. I am a wuss who gets creatively torpedoed by a lot of turmoil.
So has my life smoothed out? Has all the bad stuff gone away?
I wish. Or, since you can't hear sarcasm in print...no.
So what happened?
For some reason, my mind meandered back to when I was pondering potential motherhood. Would this be a good idea for me right now? (Eighteen years and one wild and crazy kid later, I still don't have the answer to that one.) I eventually realized that there was never going to be the perfect time. All I had was now.
The same goes for writing. All I have is now, even if it is a messy and stressful and depressing now. If my work comes out messy and depressing...well, that's what revision is for. Just getting it out of my head and into the physical world is the Big First Step.
About the time I decided I had to write again, I learned that my local SCBWI spring conference featured a writer I really, really wanted to hear. In addition to not writing, I had also not been attending writing conferences. I had signed up for a conference last fall, paid my fees, reserved my room. Told friends I'd be there. Then on the day I was to leave, yet another one of those emotional emergencies smacked me down, leaving me without the energy to back out of my driveway, let alone drive four hundred miles in three days. But this conference, no matter what happened, was fifteen miles from my house. I could do this.
I did it. I made it to the conference. I not only heard The Amazing Speaker I Had to Hear, but I reconnected with my critique group buddies. They reminded me I always had a place at their table, no pressure, no judgment, no where have you been? They were meeting in two weeks. Could I make it?
I could...and did. I remembered why for ten years, I had made that monthly 100 mile round trip to critique group. Writing is a solitary pursuit. There is no break room or lunch hour to commiserate with your co-workers. (Well, there is Facebook, but it's not the same thing.) We have to find out ways to stay connected to each other. Blogging is one way. Conferences are another. Critique group however, is where you connect on the most intimate level. This is where your fellow writers are not afraid to tell you the ruth. As I said in a previous post on critique groups, you are not there to tear each other apart, or pat each other on the back. You are there for constructive criticism...and constructive praise. You learn that you aren't the only one with a funky life. You learn that you just grab on to and hang on. To keep writing messy stuff, that you will revise and revise until it is better.
And some day, life will get better, too.
Don't forget to enter our latest book giveaway. You could win an autographed copy of Michelle Markel's and Melissa Sweet's Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers Strike of 1909 (Balzer and Bray). I have my own copy on the desk next to me right now. Terrific book.
Posted by Mary Ann Rodman