Apologies up front—this blog post is going to read like a long, spastic, uncensored journal entry. And more apologies for taking forever to write it.
The past 18 months have been pretty difficult for me and my family. We’ve suffered 3 different, yet equally significant losses, faced struggles I only ever feared until recently, and I’ve lost most of my mojo. And by mojo, I mean my inspiration, my motivation, my determination and any shred of confidence I may have been holding on to.
The funny thing about loss (and by loss I mean death of a loved one) is that it changes you. For some maybe the change is temporary, for others (like me) permanent. Each loss took something away from me, and though I can’t exactly place my finger on what it took, I know on some level it’s really gone, like the existence of the loved one who’s past, though still consciously hard to believe. Every single time I’ve started to crawl out of my hole and start the true recovery process, BAM! I’m hit with yet another loss. It’s starting to scare me. Naturally, I'm reluctant to try the climb again.
The same goes for struggle. I try my hardest to remain positive, but when the blows keep coming, each hit is harder and harder to get up from. I’ve said it before; I’m an incredibly strong person, to a fault. But even the strongest fall eventually. I’m hanging on that cliff’s edge by the tips of my fingers.
I don’t want to discount the positive things that have occurred over the past 18 months—most significant would be the birth of my second son, Tyler. I’m eternally grateful for having another happy, healthy baby, and along with my oldest son, they are the true bright spot in all this darkness I’m enshrouded by. My world revolves around them. If I’m being completely honest, I’ve actually relied on them to carry me forward each day. That’s the other problem with being the strongest…people rely on you to be their rock, but who can be mine?
It’s not easy in the least to smile each day, drag myself out of bed and continue to live life like I’m supposed to. In times of difficulty, writing used to be my outlet, the place I’d go to escape my world. Hard times used to spur me forward, more determined than the last time. But now, I don’t know… I truly struggle with the prospect of writing another word, it’s the exact reason I’ve delayed writing a blog post for so long. I go through the motions, but that intensity I used to feel is muted to a dull ache. I don’t really listen to music or read the way I used to, and when I try to, a glimmer returns, but something quickly fizzles it out. I miss writer me. I miss reader me. I miss music-loving, passionate, driven, completely happy me. I miss it all.
If I wrote everything I’ve been going through, you guys wouldn’t believe me. I swear I should write it all out; it’d make a great soap opera/drama. And looking back at everything I’ve written here, I can see where I stopped being me, and started writing what I thought people wanted to read, I didn’t want to come off as unhappy and negative. I’ve been pretending I’m okay when I’m really not. Simply because people don’t like drama, and that’s all I’ve mostly faced. That was my first mistake. I always need to remain true to my core. I’m an organic writer, after all. I'm a little embarrassed of some of my past posts over the last 18 months.
I’ve attempted to force myself back into writing. I’ve interviewed editors, spoke with agents, participated in webinars and clinics. But it’s not helping. I can’t force the words out of me. When I do, it doesn’t feel right. Blog posts sit in files, waiting to be posted for all to read, but they feel like a shell of what I used to write like. I’ve hosted my monthly critique rounds, I’ve given advice and been leaned on, lending the little bit of myself left to those who needed it. I wanted to be there in that capacity, that at least, hasn't changed. I’ve given more of myself to others than I’ve given to me. Maybe that’s the problem. Who knows. I’ve spent my entire life giving, never getting. I don’t typically ask for help, I don’t like to. I’m the helper, not the helpee. I lend advice and tips to other writers based on my personal experiences. I mentor. I’m a critiquer, a beta-reader, an active member of the writing community… And I LOVE what I do, don’t get me wrong, I’m only listing these things because they are a part of my very intricate writing fabric. I’ve depended on these things, as well, to get me through, now that I think about it, but I haven’t done anything to help myself. I’ve pushed it all down deep and buried stuff on top of it, in an attempt to keep it down. Basically, I’ve neglected my own writing. Even my characters have silenced, with the exception of an outburst hear or there.
I can’t do that anymore.
In an attempt to get my writing life back to some semblance of normalcy, I’ll be returning to my writing roots, the place where this blog started. Me, writing entries, in hopes that what I’m saying impacts my readers. I’ll continue to host critique rounds, because I love doing so, but I need some ‘me’ time. My editor of choice will give me a time frame, and in that time frame, I’ll be throwing myself into my work, blogging through it. It’s a last ditch attempt at reigniting my passion for my own writing. I think this editor can help me climb out of this hole and up this mountain. I think asking for his help is what I need to do at this point. Though I will complete any projects I’ve committed to with full vigor, I am probably going to take a step back from taking on any further projects until I’m in a better place with my own writing. I started this journey with the promise to myself to land a traditional publishing deal. It’s time I follow through on my promises to myself, huh? I owe it to myself and to my stories.
I owe it to all of you, as well. You guys have been here, you’ve supported me, and you’ve cheered me on. So I’m asking you now to hold my hand, to be patient with me. To continue to have my back the way you always have. To take negative me for all that I am. Landing a deal is a reward I want to be able to share with all of you, and though it seems impossible to me right now, I know it is. I can do this, with your help and support.
And I apologize for not being honest from the very beginning of my struggles. Even though in my heart I know you’re here to support me and my dreams (as many of you have reminded me time and time again), I didn’t want to burden you with my problems. I don’t plan on unloading my dump truck of problems on you, haha, but I’m going to be much more open and honest again, like I was before I lost the baby. Cause that’s where this difficult road started. I think I’m finally going to see the end of it, now that I can recognize what I need to do. I refuse to let so much time go by between writing posts again, if it can be avoided. I refuse to forget that I am a writer.
As for this month's critique round, it's on hold until tomorrow, when I get the big news on my husband's current health situation. I'm praying for good things from this important appointment, and it would be wonderful if all of you could, too. So if there will be a round, entries will be accepted starting Tuesday, with instructions up tomorrow evening. If not, I'll try and host 2 rounds in either April or May to make it up to everyone.
Lastly, a question: what do YOU do when you're in a true funk? I'd appreciate hearing your tales of struggle and conquer, if you're willing to share.
First thing’s first. Off to talk to my editor. I’ll be back soon, promise.
Wish me luck.