Now that I am a successful writer, meaning that I have at least two fans somewhere in the big wide world who don’t think I’m an utter failure, I am prone and ready to blow everyone’s mind with my final installment to my Origin of Love Trilogy, Rupture. That is, until I am not.
Because there are a few scenes that are just not ready. More details can enrich them. A little more wit will finalize them. It has to be the scenes, it cannot be anything else. Definitely not fear. Fear of failure or disappointment, or any of those clichés that I must, by now, be immune.
A thick skin is one of the most vital tools of the trade. For a writer, one needs pen, paper, and six layers of armor before meandering through that dark forest of creative exposure. This is completely counter-intuitive because honestly, our sensitivity and empathy is what makes us good at our craft.
So you get these polar opposite needs in order to persevere as an artist. It’s like someone telling you that you have to be wet and dry simultaneously. As writers, we must have the ability to feel all of our characters, all of their demons, even the small characters, especially the villains that nobody likes, but when it comes to real life, we are not allowed to be hurt by criticism. We need to ignore the cruel voices in our heads and in our lives.
Easy right? If only there was a way to prevent one from feeling during those moments when emotion is the enemy. Ah, but there is! Says the demon in the closet. I understand now, why so many talents are driven to self-destruction/self medication. Perhaps alcohol and drugs assist with enduring the raw pain of feeling too much during the “wrong” times.
Fortunately, this is not the only way. Coping mechanisms get established over time and there are ways to prevent the downward spiral of self-destruction, no matter where we might be in our careers. Even the most successful people experience that darkness. Writing is an isolating process, in so many ways. First, we are alone much of the time, in a world that few can understand or relate. We push away our loved ones so that we can focus on our craft, forgetting birthdays and missing crucial life events, ignoring phone calls for days on end. We feel a sense of righteousness when we snap at people for interrupting our precious flow. Then we wonder, when the darkness hits, where all our friends went and why no one wants to soothe our wounded egos.
Community is important no matter how much we value the persona of the lone wolf. Lone wolves die in the wild. The pack that has warm bodies to huddle with in the night, and brilliant stratagems to hunt and share prey eats the lone wolf. Even the strongest, most talented lone wolf cannot compete with well-organized groups.
So why isolate ourselves? Nurturing the relationships in our lives is as vital as nurturing our craft. Where would we be if it weren’t for the people who love and support us and occasionally have to put up with that self-absorbed diva? I suspect, somewhere in rehab, if we’re lucky?
So there is a way to be both wet and dry at the same time. When we swim in the cold arctic of our tortured emotions, it is vital to have a loving person, or people, waiting by the glaciers with warm blankets.
So where are you Tryst, and where is that third book, you flakey girl! Believe you me, it is coming. It is coming! This is my life’s work we’re talking about; I want it as much as you do.
But seriously, my husband and daughter miss me so much. I’ve been traveling a lot for work, you know, that thing that actually feeds that precious family, and I need to be swallowed up by them again, and immerse myself in the healing presence of their sanity. And let’s not forget all the gossip I’ve missed from friends! They really are candy for my soul.
Don’t worry, the arctic continues to call. I squeeze what time I have between flights to get the work done, just don’t tell my boss! I will never give up on writing and that third book is howling for me. Someday, I hope, creating stories and characters will be my only career and main focus, but I’m still a work in progress.