I haven’t been writing. This isn’t tragic or earth-shattering, and there’s no weeping or dramatics going on with me. I’ve just decided that, well, I need a break. I’ve been pretty much writing every day since I was…seven? Eight? And over the years I’ve developed quite the ego that my work is so great and that the world just hasn’t noticed my greatness.
And then…it dawned on. Holy crap! Maybe I’m like one of those contestants on American Idol who is shocked, SHOCKED to hear that I’m tone deaf and I have no future in the arts. Maybe, just maybe I need a reality check.
I’ve been working so furiously and a bit maniacally, that I’ve never slowed down enough to really look at my work and see what bits are working, and what bits need work. It’s hard to do that when you’re constantly producing. And that’s been me. I’ve been a writing machine. A factory. And there’s no beauty in a factory. In fact, most factories smell like boiled eggs.
So last month I quietly stepped back from my writing group to take a breath. I stopped sending out the endless queries to agents and publishers that have thus far been a constant source of “no” and the self-doubt and self-loathing that comes with every rejection.
I’ve started watching more movies. I’ve started reading for pleasure. I’m blogging still, but just a bit. You know, when I have something important to say about Bigfoot or my kids, or magic or something.
What I’m not doing is working on a new novel. I’ve toyed with it, flirted with the idea, but it’s bored flirting.
This is not to say I’ve given up. I haven’t. I’m just taking some time to breathe. To reflect. And to really, really listen to myself and figure out if I am, indeed, tone deaf, or if there is a way to reshape my words so that they have more impact.
I still have stories to tell…but the next one I tell…I want it to have a real purpose. I want it to mean something—not just to the reader but (perhaps more importantly) to me.
Maybe when all this snow melts and it’s spring again, maybe then I’ll sit down and begin to type. Until then, I’m narrating and working hard to bring other people’s stories to life, while I hope my own stories will wait until I can do them justice.