Looking forward to fall in the south is like the arrival of spring after a long, dreary winter. Lower temperatures and falling leaves bring thoughts of bonfires, sipping a warm toddy with friends while scalding hotdogs over the open flames, watching the dancing sparks fly like snowflakes toward the stars. It’s a rebirth of sorts; the death of ninety-degree days and humidity forcing us inside with air-conditioning and sweet tea. As 2020 slowly lumbers to a close and an international writing opportunity looms in the not-so-distant future, goals have withered into ash throughout this unprecedented year of chaos. I’m ashamed to say I became lost in the turmoil of the aftereffects of COVID and our divisive political climate. I lost my job, my husband lost his job, and all of this just after we were hit with tornados and straight-line winds. If one doesn’t get ya, the other will, but that’s another article. I do want to again, acknowledge our, first responders. Our police, rescue, paramedics, hospital staff, and lineman.
We do what we do and move on; eight months after the devastation, we are still rebuilding. Schools have been expanded to cover for the destroyed middle school and we endure. We mourn the passing of those lives lost, taken too soon, and to those who lost their homes, rebuilding the future; a rebirth of possibilities.
Moving past Mother Nature’s wrath and onto the virus, there’s a new way of life and solitude now. I would have thought it would have been a good thing, to escape into my writing. Bah, nah, quite the opposite I must admit. Procrastination. Hide in the pillows and pretend none of it is happening. There are no rules to follow, no boss to tell you to get busy, quit wasting time unless you’re signed with an agent or publisher, and even then, it’s hard. The only real recommendation is to write every day. I like to quote the master, Stephen King, “You must read a lot and write a lot. (Stephen King, On Writing)”. Here’s where I at least, need help. Since it’s so solitary and COVID compounds that issue, your tribe becomes a lifeline and when that tether is slack, so are efforts to continue. Why bother? Well, I have a story to tell and the book is there and, and, and self-doubt rears it’s head and confirms you’re not good enough, you’ll never make any money, why waste all this time to complete something where people are willing to tip a barista more than they are willing to spend on a book. Insert frustration, fear, and self-doubt here.
Just like Marvel Superhero’s, your tribe swoops in and lands in a cloud of support, strength, and sometimes, even tears for all you do. Your circle, your diabolical thinker of thoughts (thanks Diana) to spur you forward, to remind you that we’re not alone in this trek to the final book ready for sale on the world wide web and out of the trunk of my car at Walmart. They are your support when you’re at your lowest, they motivate you, hold your hand and tell you you’ve got this. They know because they are authors, writers, and creatives and have joined this brother/sisterhood knowing that only a writer knows; we just need a nudge along the way.
NaNoWriMo is an international group of writers who band together in support, the goal is to write a novel in a month. No edits, just get the story on the page. What better accomplishment, I ask you? Again referring to Stephen King’s novel On Writing, write with the door closed. To me, it means to tell the story with no other expectation than to tell the story. Edits, grammar, POV, none of it matters, only the story. Then and only then, do you move forward to the next step. He recommends putting it away until it feels new again, set a date on the calendar, six weeks, then reread it and welcome an old friend. Take notes, edit with the door open. Then it’s going to go out to the world. I like this idea and if it works for Steve, well… 😀
The moral of this story is that no matter what you do, where you are, or what you are experiencing, you’re not alone. Reach out to someone, reach out to me, let’s start a conversation of support rather than derision.
See ya in the bookstores! ~ Kolin