Last year I was on a writer's high. I wrote a draft a month and revised monthly, too. But in 2016, I don't have that drive to create. I'm parched for many reasons - minor health issues, critique group funk, and the general malaise a writer feels after parting with an agent. We don't like to talk about this stuff, but I'm "Chatty Kathy," and I'm talking!
Just before my agent left, I began writing a story about cats and libraries. I wrote on and off; I had no great ambitions for the manuscript, except I LIKE cats and WAS a school librarian for 15 fantastic years. I just finished my second draft last week and felt thrilled. I found that I could finally write and that the writing soothed me. And I was so proud of myself, I read the story to my long-suffering hubs and the tween I watch/babysit twice a week. I even had my computer read it to me. Then I sent it out for feedback to a few writer friends who have never read my work before. (a big leap for me.)
Now here's the dust-kicking from my desert boots, my Big Oprah "aha" moment. I MADE myself happy by writing. THIS is why I write. I can't describe the pleasure I feel when I finally get into a story and finish it, even if, technically, it's just so-so! I write for myself, to entertain myself, to transcend myself, to exist in a place where there isn't arthritis, medical bills, and all the flotsam of life. Writing gives me power. It's mood-altering. And I had forgotten that!!!!!! (excessive exclamations.)
So, I'm OK. And if you're in the desert, you'll find your water soon, and you'll be OK. Just dip your toe into a topic you enjoy and write for no other reason than to entertain yourself. Have fun. Giggle at your own puns, your own way with words, your own voice. Tell the story to yourself and soon you will be telling it to others. And, by golly, you'll feel better!
Usually I post informational topics, but today, I'm revealing my feelings. Sometimes, I think we writers need to reveal feelings to let others know they're NOT alone in the desert. So, this "Chatty Kathy" feels like she's in the cat-bird seat right now and hopes you'll push on, too! Watch out world, I'm priming my pump and writing for ME!
Thanks for being real. Children's writers care when the discouragement comes. Your suggestions are spot on. Stay on the bus. You'll get there.ReplyDelete
Sherri, we'll board that bus together, friend. Thank you for being my inspiration.Delete
Good for you, Kathy. Writing for you is important, soothing and rewarding....sip a long drink and you'll be refreshed!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Mona. I do feel better.Delete
I'm coming from the same place Kathy. Health issues. A parting of the ways with my agent and a slump in my writing. I too find great joy in writing for the pure fun of writing so I've made a plan and I see the watering hole just ahead of me...now to claw my way to it and drink...;-)ReplyDelete
Donna, we'll have a cool tall glass of water and toast each other's successes soon. Proud of you!Delete
Love this, Kathy! Sometimes I feel like I see an oasis in that desert, and it's just a mirage! I've had a really difficult year for lots of reasons too, and I'm just now starting to feel like my writing is back on track. Onward and upward to all of us!ReplyDelete
Nice to know we will be our old selves soon, Ellen. Here's to your mojo.Delete
I've been in that desert and I thank you for sharing your experience sweet Kathy. When my husband died, I died. I found myself in a very dry desert-nothing. I began writing and found something to love and to push my emotions back into my life. It's a continuing journey and I am blessed by a community of wonderful, inspiring friends. Like Sherri said, "Get on the bus." You have many friends who will gladly share your journey. Hugs <3ReplyDelete
Charlotte, I am so sorry of your loss and pain. You are one of the most giving, beautiful souls I've met on the writer's journey. Hugs.Delete
A wonderful, heartfelt post, Kathy. When the "black hole" first appeared, where editors and agents don't respond at all to submissions, I became very discouraged. But my brain couldn't let me stop writing, so I began to write, just for me. Any topic I felt like. Picture books that were WAY longer than 1000 words. Poems that didn't scan. Nonfiction that started, then stopped. But it made me feel so much better -- the process was what healed, not the product. Hang in there, my lovely friend.ReplyDelete
Yes, the process and the words and direction are all yours! Thanks for sharing your story, Patty.Delete
Kathy, I know exactly how you feel too. Why must I torture myself with trips to the desert? I don't know, but I always come back. The writing drive is too strong. And I'm grateful for that!ReplyDelete
Onward & upward!
We're onward and going to the moo, Tracey. Thanks for your support.Delete
Thanks - I think we all end up in the desert sometimes. I usually try to carry an extra water bottle and a map - but recently was caught for an extended dry spell with nothing but stale powdermilk biscuits.ReplyDelete
Thanks Kathy for the post...yes, I'm there too...dry sand and bleak horizons. But expecting my desert to bloom soon...glad to know I'm not alone.ReplyDelete
May your garden grow!Delete
Sounds like you found your ticket for staying on the bus. I guess I'm lucky in that I tend to cycle in and out of feeling great/terrible about my writing very quickly, so it never feels quite like a desert, more like short hops between oases. But when I'm between those high spots, I despair. You are a terrific writer. Hang in there!ReplyDelete
Jilanne, what would we do in the desert without friends?Delete
Kathy,I think it is crowded in the desert! Pass the canteen. Thank goodness we have each other to share the writerly life. Thank you for your post! I do enjoy your writing. Getting back on the bus!ReplyDelete
I just hopped back on, Janie. We're in it together.Delete
Oh, Kathy, appreciations for what you've been enjoying & also, not so much enjoying. You are just The. Best. This is heartfelt. It's also wonderful how you have re-discovered the joy in putting words together in a way that lifts you up. I think those valleys will always be there for me, between my mountain tops. It's the geography of my soul.ReplyDelete
Jan, hugs back. Blessings, too.Delete
I'm glad you found the inspiration and that precious gem needed to do what was beneficial for you. Realizing that we don't have to wait or depend on others to find our strength and re-energize creative senses are such gifts. You had the power in you all along, Dorothy. This was such a wonderful, wonderful post.ReplyDelete
Ah, Pam, I am clicking my heels and wishing I was in Hot Atlanta, now.Delete