A bird calls outside my window. Our big golden retriever lies on the couch after pleading in her mellow dramatic “I’ll place my muzzle on the couch and stare at her until she says I can get up on the couch” kind of way. At least she’s a polite golden retriever. Are there any who aren’t polite? Maybe a few but not ours. My tabby cat is sprawled on the arm of my husband’s empty recliner. It is an unusually quiet morning and soon I will begin working on my novel. I figured I would blog, since it has been more than a month since my last post.
I think for a time I was all out of words. Maybe it was the never ending snow, or the fact that we have moved to two issues of the newspaper a week, or the fact that my husband and I are starting a new food business, my head has not been in writing. It happens. I had great momentum coming out of the New Year starting blocks. I felt ready to take on anything– freelance writing, novel writing, everything writing. When I last left you I was sending a partial to an agent. Well, that didn’t go the way I had hoped. At the time, it felt devastating. I’m not sure why. I know this game. I get a lot of rejection. I think it was the timing of all of it. The news came when winter felt the coldest and harshest, and I just went into hibernation mode, like I always do at that time of year. Call it the winter blues or seasonal affective disorder, what it really means is that I just shut down and do the bare minimum needed to get by in winter, i.e. going to work, getting kids to school (when there is school), and maybe cleaning a little. I always figured it came down to hating winter, but really it is just a part of the winter cycle. I’m not so different from a bear. I just don’t get to stop what I’m doing and sleep until spring. Instead, I scale back and complain a little about driving through the snow. I realize now that I have always been fighting the fact that winter is a time of rest, thinking I always have to do, do, do.
In the midst of fighting all that and trying to maintain my do, do, doing, I became conflicted about writing, mostly because I have been doing too many writing assignments and not enough writing fiction and poetry. I thought perhaps I wanted to freelance and stay home and write. It’s not that it’s too much work. It’s just that it’s using up my words for something I can’t get my heart behind. My priority is to no longer do that to the detriment of the writing I am passionate about. That doesn’t mean I’ll stop blogging or freelancing altogether. It just means I want to get this book done. I’m back at rewrites and finding that indeed the novel might need a little bit more tweaking. I don’t see the previous submissions as wasted time. I feel this perhaps is part of the process, especially for a first novel. For a long time I’ve heard the word “patience” like a whisper in my ears. I keep thinking of something Randy Pausch said about brick walls and how they are there to keep those who don’t want it bad enough out. So, for now I just keep focusing on patience and brick walls.