Blogging isn’t an activity I ever imagined for myself, but there are many things about my life I never imagined. Not all of them have been pleasant, but each has provided the opportunity to become the person I am. In the past couple years of writing, I’ve come to terms with myself, accepted the things I’ve done, the mistakes that guided me, and quit (for the most part) beating up on myself for opportunities missed and for not achieving the summit of every mountain I yearned to climb.
When I look at the past year (and I have no idea other than a recent birthday why I am wandering through history), the growth (radical in some ways) that I have experienced has led me to redefine my own personal mission statement. This change has been fueled by new friendships with strangers I met online, from blogs. I talked to one of my writer/blogger friends yesterday, and in our very goofy conversation, I was struck by the power of these friendships born of shared dreams. My friend and I even talked about that, how even our nearest and dearest friends of old can’t quite grasp our writing journeys in the way that fellow writers can. My friend now has more long-distance friendships, just as I do (now, as I’ve mentioned before, I live far from old friends and family, so thank goodness for unlimited long-distance plans).
Writers share something... or maybe, better yet, dreamers share something. I remember hearing once a disparaging thing about dreamers... that all they are is dreamers, not doers (or something like that). But my rebuttal against this nameless foe is that “doers” can’t even get up without something to dream. And writers or anyone who seeks a goal must at their heart be a dreamer, a believer, and ultimately a doer in order to get things done.
I’ve been working this month to ease back, bring the joy back into my writing, and what that really means is allowing the dreamer back in. So much of querying and rejections sends the dreamer into a hollowed out cave inside our hearts. And I think the further we get on the path, the harder it is for that dreamer to endure. Think of that feeling, finishing that first story or novel with your dreamer still completely intact, knowing with certainty that anyone would be a fool to pass up your work. And then the rejection comes, baffling the dreamer.
My dreamer has become a bit of a wizened hunchback, cowering and preparing for the next blow. I reached the point where I didn’t allow myself to imagine what success looked like, becoming the dreamer-free doer. Sure, I kept right on writing because I’ve got the doer part locked down, but without the dreamer, the one who could see clearly what success looks like, who can imagine my titles in pretty covers sitting on my shelf, the fun and the joy evaporated. Not terribly surprising when you think about it.
So, August became this chance to reconnect with the dreamer, to allow the storyteller within to get free rein again. My progress report: August is the best month ever. I’m writing with zest again, racing to see what happens next, allowing my characters to completely have their ways with me, and delighting in the process again. It didn’t take much to reconnect and yet the source of my renewed connection is profound. In a word: it is Acceptance. Acceptance of myself and my life. Acceptance of the stories that are mine to tell. Acceptance that my path doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s and that this journey, the one I am lucky enough to be on, is mine alone. And yet, I am not alone. I am blessed to have two wonderful writer friends. One who makes me laugh, who shares the ups and downs, and critiques my writing with a zany fervor. And the other, who hones query letters like a phenom, has challenged all the walls I built around myself, challenged all the dark beliefs that kept me from happiness, and is the very reason I have a blog in the first place.
Thank you both for sharing your lives with me. And thank you to those who read my blog who may end up being new friends in waiting.
Quote for the Day from Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh," he whispered.
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw, "I just wanted to be sure of you."”