Thursday, October 16, 2014

FAVE FINDS: Resilience

Look out interwebs, I am back! Yes, I realize it has been a while (WAY too long) since I've posted anything on my blog, but that doesn't mean I can't jump back in here and revitalize this old thing any time I like, does it? I mean seriously, as I've discovered over the past year or so, I am resilient like that. Just because I've had to walk away for a while after promising to post more frequently, that doesn't mean it's all over. My blog is still here. I still care. We can get back on track.

My blog isn't the only writing of mine that took a hit this summer. My manuscripts have suffered (or more accurately, languished) these past few months. Due to family health issues, as well as mental issues-- because what else can you call it but unbalanced when one decides to gut and completely remodel one's kitchen, dining, and living room, huh? No sane person decides to do that to themselves, do they?* But anyway, due to these... issues, I've barely sat down at my keyboard at all even though I had just begun to launch into a massive revision before literally packing POTHOLES and BUBBLE GIRL (and my entire laptop) away indefinitely. Or at least until the remodel was finished enough. It's still not completely finished. It feels like it may never be. But it is at least a little less all-consuming for now.

It's true I have taken breaks from my writing before, even whole summers away when the kids were little. But this was different. This wasn't one of those good-for-the-soul, good-for-my-writing, vacation kind of breaks. This was a hiatus that came out of necessity from my non-writing life, and it came at a less than ideal time. It came on the heels of a very trying year. After taking POTHOLES out on submission for several months and coming so very close but still not scoring that elusive cigar (and by cigar, I mean agent), I was seriously beginning to question whether I'll ever be able to gain the last inch I need to break through in the publishing world. There are no guarantees here. I could work my whole life toward this and never make it. I am not so delusion I can't see this. And so, amidst these doubts, to walk away for an indefinite period felt dangerous.

Sure, I wasn't leaving the writing world entirely. I went on a lovely, and much needed, write-in at Mt. Magazine Lodge in July with some of the best writer pals you could ask for. And I had smaller Saturday write-ins at Starbucks once every month or so, but for the most part my butt-in-chair time was non-existent. My carefully guarded weekday writing schedule didn't just unravel, it vaporized. I pulled away from treating my writing as my full time job. And I did it at a time when I already doubted my ability to keep my chin up for much longer. Rejection stings, no matter how nicely it's worded. To pull away while that sting was still fresh made me feel like less. Less than a writer. Less than whole. Less than capable of moving on once again. Like I was an outsider, a fraud, looking in on this world that I love. Like I was pretending to be something I'm not, and may never get to be.

Writing is hard. The heartbreak from thinking you've maybe made it and then finding out you haven't is harder. How much better would I feel if I never put myself through that pain and disappointment again? How much time would I have for everything else in my life if I gave up trying? I'm not going to lie, these thoughts went through my mind during the long gaps between write-ins. Once you've pulled away, isn't it far easier to let go than to ever get momentum again?

Theoretically that should be true.But alas, as I have found, letting go isn't really an option for me. I love writing. I love my manuscripts. I love being a part of the writing community. This is who I am, and what I have to do. I would feel lost without it. I HAVE felt lost these past few months, and I don't care for the feeling at all.

Now that I'm gearing up for my annual trek to the AR-SCBWI Fall Retreat, now that I'm blogging again**, and easing back into my revisions again, I finally feel like I'm piecing together those missing parts of me. I'm rediscovering the thing I've relied on for nearly ten years now; the part of me that lets me get back up and keep moving forward no matter how knocked down I feel. The thing that all writers who ultimately get published MUST have without exception:


So POTHOLES was as awesome as I thought it could get, and it still wasn't enough.

So all these years of hard work, sweat, and abundant tears hasn't gotten me where I want to be. Yet.

So what.

I'm still here. And I still care. I will get this back on track again I swear.

The awesome agent feedback I received amidst those rejections (as well as feedback from my Writer's Voice contest coach) gave me new ideas; let me see just why close wasn't close enough. I know now what needs to be changed. And I know I can do it. I have the courage, and the drive, and (as I have proven with this remodel) just the right amount of crazy to jump in and see this story through to the finish once more.

Will once more be enough?

Who knows. Certainly not me. But how awful would it be if once more WAS enough and I never found out?

And that's where my resilience comes from. I'm in this thing for as long as it takes. Crazy or not.

You may not be able to count on me blogging on a weekly basis. Or even monthly. I'll be too busy working on my other writing at times for sure. But I'm not giving up on this either. When I have the time, and something interesting to say, I'll be here.

And that you can count on.

*Even if you are sane when you begin, you certainly aren't by the time you get a week in to the remodel, let alone three months in. Oh no. By three months in to digging up ceramic tile, ripping out cabinets and counter tops, scrapping and sanding away at old paint, there is very little of anything resembling sanity left anywhere in your house.

**Just you wait and see what fun things I have in store for the next couple of weeks!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post, Niki. I needed to hear it. (And I'm so glad you're not packing away your manuscripts and laptop!)