Right now, I am between two loads of laundry, which means two trips to the laundry room, which means using the first trip to teach me what I want to bring on the second trip. I am still learning the new apartment, the new apartment building, the new apartment complex, the new neighborhood, and a whole bunch of other news. Sleep has been not-great, which means a lot of time, in the dark, thinking about life, both writing and otherwise.
June is a ninja. Spring had only started, and now, wham, look, it’s summer. June 1st is my date with Charter Oak Romance Writers, on a topic I feel both eminently qualified, and wholly unfit to present. Allow me to ‘splain.
Save The Writer, Save The Book (STWSTB,) or Writing Through the Tears (WTTT,) depending on who you ask, came about when Melva Michaelian and I both missed the notices that Workshop X (so called, because I cannot, for the life of me remember what the actual topic was, or the name of the presenter who was unable to make it that year) had been cancelled, and thus sat in an empty conference room for an hour. At first, we figured maybe everybody else was late. They were not, because we were it, because there was no workshop. There may or may not have been discussion of going to the workshop offered in place of Workshop X, or maybe another workshop, but we wanted the one that wasn’t, and we were tired, and things do tend to happen when we are left on our own at conferences. (CT Fiction Fest 2018 attendees, you have been warned) what we landed on was that we should have our own workshop.
STWSTB is a catchy name, and it does borrow from the tag line of the TV show, Heroes, which I have never seen. I don’t know if Melva has; you’d have to ask her. At the time, we were both caregivers to multiple relatives apiece, along with juggling other flaming stress chainsaws of life, and we both had the same question: how the fluff do yoy keep writing, with all this stuff going on?
I know, I know, dangling proposition above, but it’s appropriate. How do you keep writing? I want to know this. How do I? I want to know that, perhaps, even more. No offense; I am sure you are very interesting, and I could probably ask far too may nosy questions, but I am the only one who can write my books. I am half of the team that co-writes Melva’s-and-my books, so focusing on myself is probably a wise decision on my part.
I am not where Beginning Writer Me thought she/I would be, at this point in her/my career. We rather thought we would have a bit more to show for our efforts by now. We thought we would be writing from behind an antique dedk, in an off-site office, by now, walls covered in glossy posters of our book covers, not tapping out blog entries on our phone, from the air mattress in an apartment with blank cream walls, but, today, that’s what we’ve got.
There’s an old proverb, Japanese, I want to say, that says, fall down five times, get up six. That, I can do. Though, as with many adoptees, my genetic makeup is a mystery, I am fairly certain that I am at least thirty-five percent Weeble. Knock me down, and I get back up, because that’s how I’m made. Maybe that’s why I liked the punching clown toy as much as I did, when I was but a wee princess. Smack it down, and up it comes. Every. Time.
Sometimes, writing is easy. Sometimes, writing is hard. Sometimes, the answer to “how do you keep going?” is, that, sonetimes, you don’t. Not in a lie in a ditch and stop existing sense, but in a take a step back, drink root beer floats in a blanket fort and watch Netflix all afternoon sense. Or reading. Reading is good. Also doodling, or lying on your back, eyes closed, listening to music; all of that is good stuff. When I can’t put out, that usually means I need to take in, instead. Feed my senses. Feed my story brain. Talk to other writers, talk to other readers. Talk to four-legged (or finned or feathered) family members, because they are very good listeners and not at all pushy with advice. Talk to myself (I do that one a lot.) Talk to the voices in my head, which, for most of us writers, are our characters, and, when the time is right, they will talk back. That’s how they’re built, too.