2014 and 2015 have been an interesting collection of potholes, roadblocks, detours, and downed bridges in regards to writing. The last time I journeyed through an extended period of not writing (and no desire to do so) began back in 2006. Life found me, then. That is, instead of living vicariously through my characters, I found myself embroiled in Life and its many adventures.
But even though my life seemed to be nothing but blessings, people commented that I didn’t seem to have joy. That was in 2008. The comment made me reevaluate my heart. What was keeping me from joy?
Simply put, I missed writing. That was the first year I participated in NaNoWriMo. Life was good again.
2013. We moved for the fourth time in as many years, and I lost my job. it took most of the year for me to find another job. It was a blow to my self-esteem, and my writing suffered for it. Thankfully, after thanksgiving I was hired at my current job.
2014. We moved again, and because of the fact my husband was away from home on projects, my sister and I were solely responsible for finding the house and getting us moved. Later in the year, my mom was diagnosed with NASH (non alcoholic cirrhosis) and passed away 3 months later.
It was a blow no one expects. Two weeks after her death, I released book 2 of my romance series and didn’t look back. I didn’t think about another character, nor even read a book. I didn’t care about them anymore.
2015. We decided to look at purchasing land and build a home. Life had other plans. Months later, we shifted to the possibility of buying a home instead. Again, what should have been simple was not. Life had long since become an exercise, navigating disappointment after disappointment just trying to get to the other side.
Usually, I vented my frustrations and irritations through my writing, but this time my characters didn’t appeal to me. I had no desire to explore what I was feeling, why I felt what I did, and how to get to the better side of it all. Thinking of my characters and my stories brought to mind the pain of my mother’s death. She had always been my brainstorm partner. My fact checker. My sounding board. Not only that, both novels I would have been working on had main characters struggling with the loss of a parent. To write more in-depth about those struggles would have revealed my own agony, starkly and without mercy. I simply was not ready to face the depths of what I felt.
It was clear how the lack of writing was affecting my attitude. I knew it. The husband knew it. But whenever people would ask me about my writing… I just couldn’t. When the husband tried to encourage me to get into it again… I couldn’t. The thought of reacquainting myself with my characters HURT. I dreaded the idea of going to the next novel to get it finished. Writing should never be an act of dread. I think everyone understood that I needed time, and that fact helped me be okay with giving myself that time. Even my characters gave me permission to be apart from them. It could be heard and felt in their silence.
They left me in my corner to mourn and try to find the strength to get up again.
Then, one day last week, I found myself tip-toeing around the characters and story of book 3. I didn’t feel the shadow of dread. Instead, there was a sigh of relief. A clear impression that my characters, all this time, were simply resting their hands upon my heart and encouraging me to open my eyes. Finally, I believed I might be ready to step forward into the journey of repairing myself after an unfathomable loss.
And you know what? There is joy in my life again. There is a realization that, through my writing, I can revisit memories of my mother. I can channel my pain and my joy my readers to be comforted. Healed. Encouraged. Yes, Life is still sending challenges and disappointments, but at least now there is excitement and eagerness because I can finally see the hint of light on the other side.
What challenges have you faced [are facing] this year?