Every day new opportunities rise to greet us. Every day we choose some and abandon others. We won’t even necessarily understand what causes us to choose one over the other, especially since our reasoning can change from day to day. Sometimes the only reason we have for not following opportunities is fear.
For me, fear and pride have been great obstacles, a daily struggle to overcome. That was one of the subconscious reasons I began writing Searching for Sara. Through Sara, I was able to show my heart what could come from facing my fears and stepping forward regardless. Pride was the driving force behind Broken Angel, the heroine Rachel suffering because she wouldn’t back down or compromise. Now, in Releasing Yesterday, I have no idea what I could learn, or what I can pose as a question to my characters to teach me.
Until I think about my floundering passion and stagnation. I just stand–or sit–here and think about all I need to do without doing any of it. In Releasing Yesterday it has taken Sara’s absentee father more than 20 years to finally step forward in action and seek her out, determined to repair their non-existent relationship even against the wishes of his family.
Once before he allowed his family to dictate his future. Ten years later, he discovered that, not only did his wife die alone, she left a daughter whose only means of support was the kindness of others and the work of her two hands. It has taken him nearly fifteen years to finally track her down, and now he stares into the mirror image of his wife only to see all the years squandered and lost.
And then she looks away.
Because of his lack of action so many years before, she has suffered–then and now–and he faces the daunting task of seeking not only her forgiveness, but her love.
I think I’m in these same shoes. Because I left the sequel unfinished–and even un-outlined–I stare at the maw of my encroaching deadline and wonder how I’m going to craft book 2 into some semblance of order. How will I do this series justice? So I stay in one place and don’t even attempt a beginning. But the sequel calls to me, as do my obligations, as do the characters. “Just write!”
But what about all the “do this” and “don’t do this” that leer at me in the back of my brain. I forget what to look for, what to be mindful of while writing when I write. It can’t be fine to simply write the story as it unfolds in my head, can it? What if I do it wrong? But is it better to not write at all?
So I stare down at the pages I have just printed–the physical often helps me find my footing–and look at all the scenes and pages cut from book 1 that I would love to weave into book 2, and whimper. There is so much to keep in mind! But that isn’t necessarily true. I have book 1, and I have an idea of what I want for book 2. Everything else is a blank page waiting for my pen. The future is bright and unfettered, my characters free to whisper to me their story.
Like Sara’s father, I only need to take that first and then second step forward, and keep going. The future doesn’t come to us–we go.