Fingers to keyboard is my mantra for my new authors. Fingers to keyboard. And keep those fingers moving. And keep your eyes on the screen. Not on Facebook as I am doing right now…
I have not blogged since the fall. I have been writing as I finally set (and met) a final deadline for myself and for my new publisher to turn in my re-write. But now, I am out of the blog habit and want to get back in. Blogging was a much needed outlet for as I walked through my fire. Your support during those months was astounding. Knowing you were there reading my words whether you commented or not, having you tell me you were reading me when we ran into each other in random places helped keep me sane in a time of severe wackiness. I am forever grateful. And now I am ready to reconnect to that outlet and to you.
So here I am, 3 days short of our 11 month anniversary since the fire. What a ride this has been. There is so much to say and I know I can’t say it all in this moment as I might never stop writing. And there is no mistake I am writing after my transformational journey to LA to be photographed by the uber-fabulous Christina Morassi but that is for another post as it needs to percolate more. For now, this is what I need to write.
To catch you up, after all the wandering over the summer, we finally settled and bought a lovely home in Evergreen. All summer long we planned to rebuild then after multiple dead ends in going way over budget on building plans and well-being, we burned out and called Uncle. Too much input, too few options, too much time passing by, we started house hunting – first to rent, then to buy. After moving in to our new/old home (a 1937 “cabin” near downtown Evergreen), life seemed to settle down. Then, for me, the darkness settled in too. For a brief bit I felt happier then I had in a while. Then depression leaked in and soon seemed to swallow me whole. Knowing “Depression” was one of the Kubler-Ross stages of grief, for some time, I remained hopeful I was moving through my pain. But then tired of treading water, as I struggled to keep my head above , I called Uncle again. I stepped away from my blogging, retreated in to my cocoon and tripled up on therapy. Throw in the surprise IRS audit (just where oh where was my paperwork? Oh yeah, fiery flames…) and I was plumb tuckered out.
At first it was hard to step away from blogging. For many months, it was my outlet for the conflicted thoughts, feelings, and angst – yet something started to turn. In the fall, when I wrote the darkness without a break in the darkness, I became more convinced (with the encouragement of my therapist) that taking a break was just what the doctor ordered. Sad, tired, discouraged was all I could write. As you know, I am not anti-darkness in the least bit, yet it was time to step away.
After some deep work, deep healing, another 2 weeks in the sun on our boat in the Bahamas, and celebrating the turning of the clock to 2013, I returned “home” not quite refreshed but ready to re-emerge. Having promised my publisher my entire finished completed polished perfected manuscript by February 15th, I needed to kick it into gear. And kick I did.
I blocked huge hunks of time in my calendar, said ‘no’ to many things, warned my loved ones about my impending absence – and most importantly, promised myself I would not suffer while writing. In the late summer and early fall, whenever I had attempted work on my book, the gremlins I often warned my clients about were blaringly loud. Each time I would open my manuscript, I would see shit, shit and more shit. My self-judgement was tremendous. Here’s what it sounded like: “This is pure crap. There is absolutely no way I can un-crap-a-fy it. It is beyond help. I am beyond help. Why did I ever agree to this. I am screwed.” Or some such loveliness. Each time on a subtle (or not so subtle) level, I let these voices win and closed my computer and slunk away. For a writer, there is room for self-doubt bouts but when it blocks all sun and stays that way it’s impossible to continue. I was simply drowning in it.
As promised, I started writing again on January 7th. Were all the voices of self-doubt gone? No. No, they were not. They remained yet I had some space between me and them – enough to remember they weren’t real and that I had a choice. The promise I made to myself not to suffer was one I took seriously. It absolutely could not go the way it had gone before. I had no time for suffering. I needed to be in action but not in miserable forced action. The weekend prior to the 7th, I wondered if I could do it. I would love to say I was high on life and ready to begin – but I wasn’t. I dreaded that Monday. I wondered if I was really ready and able. Then Monday, at the appointed time, I began. At first the words didn’t come, yet after a few hours the rhythm returned.
For as long as I have been writing, it always takes something to get in to the groove. I bless (or curse) those of you who sit at the blank page and channel God. For me, it’s slightly different. Most times, I need to sit through mucho discomfort and pain in order to get to the other side. Even when I have a good day of flow, the next day doesn’t seem to start there. I start back at the beginning, yet again. The difference was, I allowed all of that and kept going. I began to see new patterns. Usually a morning writer, I turned in to an afternoon writer, hitting my groove around 2pm each day. My calendar of blocked writing time continually reminded me of my priorities. A pretty purple color block showed me exactly how much time I had – and how much I didn’t. There was room for sleep, some W-A-L-K’s with my dogs, some visits with friends, a few calls with clients and not much more.
I did what I set out to do AND I turned my book in a day early – which turned out to be exactly one year from when I signed the contract and 9 months after the original promised date. I thank my new publisher Brenda Knight at Viva Editions for her tireless support and understanding after my house burned down, I drowned my computer, I lost files, I dealt with depression and then the IRS audit threw me in another spin of fear. I love and adore and worship my incredible editors. The godforsakenly brilliant Ellen Moore with whom I spent hours upon hours literally cutting and pasting hundreds of thousands of words to form this “new” book and without whom this never ever ever ever ever would have happened and lovely Mary Ann Tate whose gentle words, suggestions and perfect timing got me through a particularly sticky period.
And I thank YOU for welcoming me back to the world of blogging.