The Journey to Bliss: A Detour

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Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons Virginia State Parks

I recently read a blog post from Writers Unboxed about letting our creativity rest. It’s a wonderful blog written by a large list of writers for writers about the craft, the business, and the life of writers. If you’re a writer and don’t follow it, I suggest you do. Just the posts from Donald Maass alone are worth hitting the subscription button. (If you don’t know who he is, click on his name. You’ll be impressed. I promise.)

I recently went through a period of not writing. I’m not sure I’d call it a “rest” because I didn’t choose to stop. It was more like a detour. My life became stressful and the voices in my head that feed my work just dried up. I had nothing to say. And was beginning to realize no one was listening anyway. My friends and family told me the inability to write was understandable with all that was going on. One insightful friend said, “three books in three years. You deserve to rest.” Others said be patient (not something I’m good at) the voices would come back. It was over a month before I wanted to sit at my computer again. I didn’t stay there long. Words stretched and yawned reluctant to throw the covers off. The desire to sell my work stayed in hibernation. I had to take a detour whether I liked it or not.

The thing is I’m afraid to take time away from my writing. I haven’t made my full dream come true. I’ve published three books, but they aren’t selling because I haven’t handled that part of my business correctly. I feel like a failure. And a part of me thinks if I stop, if I don’t produce I’ll never have the readership I want. It’s a voice on a loop, “you must write. you must do more. Learn more. Read more. Be more.” Why am I so obsessed with more? Why isn’t what I’ve done enough? Why can’t I take another route, and enjoy the warmth of my accomplishments as the sun streams through my open sunroof?

Is it because I think time is running out? And time resting is time wasted. My father-in-law asked me once if I ever sat down. The Coffee King will tell you, I hate naps. I also hate getting lost. Detours are not my friend.

But I couldn’t force the words. They would awaken when they wanted to.

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Photo Courtesy of Flckr Creative Commons Kate Ter Harr

I let the words lie and tried other things. I read more. A lot more. Genres I didn’t normally read. I colored. I exercised and caught up on some television shows. I sat at my computer and waited for the voices to tell their story. And they did. Slowly.

I’m writing again. It’s different than the other times. I’ve outlined the entire book in more details than I’ve ever used for an outline. I still worry the words will elude me because my word count is low for the time I’ve put in. I worry the story isn’t good enough and no one will like it. I feel the loop of “more, more, more” creeping into my brain, but I can tell it to pull over and turn off the engine once in a while. Not often and not for long, but it’s better than running out of gas on the Parkway.

The full dream will come true. In time. Just not my time. And not my route.

How are you handling the journey to your bliss? What steps have you taken? Are you finding yourself faced with an unexpected detour? What does the road ahead look like?

 

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4 thoughts on “The Journey to Bliss: A Detour

  1. Stacey, I could have written this myself. I am in the same place (except I have only 2 books published so far). Your post hit home. I’m glad to know I’m not alone.
    Thank you.
    And I will subscribe to Writers Unboxed. I appreciate it.

    1. Kimberly,

      I’m glad I could help. Knowing we’re not walking the road alone is often a big relief. Especially for me, when I see so many other authors accomplishing the things I want to accomplish. I keep thinking, “what am I doing wrong?”

      You will enjoy Writers Unboxed. It’s a daily blog, but every day it’s a different author. They do rotate. You should go to the site and search for “Pixie Dust” by Donald Maass. It was very inspirational.

  2. You can’t force anything in life. If it doesn’t come naturally then it wasn’t supposed to. Hard to accept when you’ve never been given permission to relax. My son has changed my personality. I had to learn when he was a baby that my schedule would not be adhered to. I was the one who had to go with what was given to me. Once I learned that with him, it seeped its way into everything else.

    1. I think that’s fantastic! What a great life lesson you could apply to all areas of life, not just with your son. I’m still trying to learn you can’t control everything. Having two teenagers helps with that lesson. I strive to be more like you. Thanks for sharing, Jenn!

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